Powering Our Future… The Philadelphia Energy Hub:


Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP
Andrew Levine

Fall 2015

This article was originally published in Keystone Business 2015 – Keystone Conference on Business and Policy

One of the most exciting developments to happen to the Philadelphia metropolitan economy has been the advent of the availability of large quantities of affordable natural gas from the Marcellus Region, parts of which are within easy driving distance of the city. The discovery of the formations has Pennsylvania at the center of an international geo-political energy discussion, and the Greater Philadelphia Energy Action Team (GPEAT) is working to maximize these opportunities. Philadelphia has the logistical attributes to take the resource in its backyard, and parlay that natural asset into entirely new lines of industry and business in the region. Investment capital and opportunities following into the Philadelphia area at an unprecedented rate, raising the very real prospect that Philadelphia can become the great energy hub of the Northeast, providing credible long-term market competition to the Gulf States.

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Environmentally Challenged Projects: If I Redevelop One, Can I Safely Sell It?

Berger Singerman LLP
Dawn M. Meyers

December 3, 2015

Many developers, however, continue to resist opportunities to redevelop “environmentally challenged” sites such as golf courses.  Perhaps the single most intimidating issue for those contemplating the redevelopment of such sites is environmental issues relating to such property.  With histories of soil and groundwater contamination, and the health hazards associated with both, redevelopers typically raise three primary environmental concerns:  (1) how much will remediation cost, (2) can the ultimate product be sold, and (3) what is the  continuing liability relating to the property.

Remediation costs will be dependent on the specifics of the particular site. Advanced soil management techniques including soil blending and capping can be expensive but highly effective in addressing primary contaminants.  Risk-based tools to address soil and groundwater contamination can help minimize some of those costs.  Further, a myriad of institutional controls which may include deed restrictions to reduce or prevent human exposure to the contaminants can all be used not only to address but even resolve the contamination more quickly and less expensively than traditional remediation.

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Fifth Circuit Clarifies Claim Presentment Requirements Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990

King & Spalding LLP
Andrew M. Stakelum

December 8, 2015

The 1989 grounding of the EXXON VALDEZ spurred Congress to enact the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) to remedy what it believed to be a patch-work compensation scheme where liability and damages were subject to federal statutes, the general maritime law, state statutes and state common laws.  In addition to broadening the class of persons entitled to compensation, the OPA attempted to streamline the claims process by requiring all claimants present their claims to a responsible party under the statute prior to filing suit.  Twenty-five years later, this claims process still remains the focus of much litigation.

The OPA claims process begins with the President, through the U.S. Coast Guard, designating one or more entitles a “responsible party” for the oil spill. See 33 U.S.C. § 2714(a).   In exchange for generally submitting to strict liability, a responsible party is entitled to limit its liability to varying statutory amounts provided certain conditions are met.  See 33 U.S.C. § 2704.  The OPA requires that all claims first must be “presented” to the responsible party, which then has 90 days to pay or reject the claim.  See 33 U.S.C. § 2713(a).  After 90 days, the claimant may either present its claim to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) administered by the government or file suit against the responsible party.  See 33 U.S.C. § 2713(c).  What might appear to be a simple process continues to be the source of much litigation as claimants and responsible parties alike attempt to use this process to their advantage.


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Suspension of the New “Federal Waters” Rule Perpetuates Uncertainty for Property Owners and Developers

Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP
Judith Wallace, Christopher Rizzo, Karen E. Meara & Victor J. Gallo

December 3, 2015

On October 9, 2015, a U.S. Court of Appeals suspended – nationwide – the rule that governs federal agencies’ reach over dredging and filling activities in waters and wetlands (as well as affecting the reach of other Clean Water Act programs).1 This new and more detailed rule had been released earlier this year in an attempt to clarify the scope of federal jurisdiction, after the admonishments of the U.S. Supreme Court in decisions in 2001 and 2006 criticizing the previous rule for leaving too much discretion to case-by-case determinations by agency staff.2

The immediate impact is that the previous version of the rule is back in force, and any clarifications in the new rule cannot be relied upon for the time being. Proposed development and redevelopment of properties where the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act remains unclear require careful planning to ensure the viability of project investments regardless of whether the rulemaking is ultimately upheld.

Significance of the “Waters of the US” Rule

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