Property Owner’s Liability Under CERCLA for Unpaid Remediation Subcontractor

Duane Morris LLP
Stanley A. Martin

March 27, 2014

A federal appeals court ruled that a landowner is not liable under CERCLA1 for amounts due to a subcontractor, when the owner had already paid the prime contractor for cleanup work.  The prime contractor, fully paid, failed to make payment to subs and then went out of business.  Although the sub argued that CERCLA required the property owner to pay for cleanup, the court held (decision available here) that the property owner had discharged its obligations under CERCLA when it fully paid the prime contractor for the cleanup work.

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EPA Finalizes Revised Effluent Limitation Guidelines for Construction Site Stormwater Discharges

Thompson Hine LLP
Michael L. Hardy, Andrew L. Kolesar and Erin M. Minor

April 7, 2014

On March 6, 2014, EPA published a final rule (New Rule) that revises the effluent limitation guidelines (ELGs) for stormwater discharges from construction sites with one or more acres of land disturbance. The most significant change between the New Rule and the prior version of the rule, which was issued by EPA in 2009 (2009 Rule), is the deletion of controversial numeric limits for turbidity. However, EPA has left the door open to include such limitations in a future rulemaking by reserving rather than eliminating the sections addressing turbidity. The New Rule, which will take effect on May 5, 2014, was promulgated pursuant to a settlement agreement between EPA and various industry groups that challenged the 2009 Rule.

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Regulating Stormwater – The Never Ending Saga

Thomas G. Echikson

March 31, 2014

As you could probably tell from the number of posts I’ve written on the subject, stormwater fascinates me. Not that I particularly like rain or snow (particularly after this winter!). But, as an environmental concern and legal and policy issue, there are few subjects that can match both its simplicity – we all know what stormwater is – and its complexity – figuring out how to effectively control it has proven to be one of the more intransigent problems confronting EPA and the states.  In fact, one of the very first cases I worked on over 25 years ago involved stormwater, and, despite some progress, the legal and policy debates over stormwater continue today.  Given my interest in the topic, my next few posts are going to focus on stormwater.

What is it about stormwater?  To begin, it’s well-established that stormwater discharges – both point and non-point – are significant contributors to surface water quality impairment.  Major water bodies, such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River, are not achieving water quality standards to a significant extent because of the contribution of stormwater containing nutrients and other pollutants.  That stormwater presents an environmental problem that still needs to be addressed is difficult to dispute.

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It’s All Significant: Proposed US EPA Rule to Expand the Definition of “Waters of the United States” Under the CWA

Squire Sanders
Matthew Rojas

April 1, 2014

As part of an effort to streamline implementation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), US EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) released a proposed rule that will establish defined categories of waters that qualify as “waters of the United States” under the CWA and will be subject to its jurisdiction. The proposed rule is a direct response to the US Supreme Court’s decisions in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook Cty. v. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001) and Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006). Newly protected categories include wetlands and seasonal streams that are upstream from navigable waters, substantially expanding the current scope of CWA jurisdiction. The Agencies believes that these resources share a significant nexus with downstream waters and that protecting them is essential to preserve water quality nationwide.
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