Source: http://www.dailyprogress.com, July 31, 2017
By: Bob Stuart
A federal judge on Friday approved the settlement for damages from DuPont’s mercury contamination of the South River, but did not order any of the $42 million settlement be used for projects in Waynesboro, including a much-discussed trout grow-out facility.
U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski did note in his order, however, that those involved in the settlement “have pledged to to fully asses restoration activities directed at Waynesboro.” And, he noted, officials with the city of Waynesboro have said they want the consent document approved — regardless of whether any specific settlement funding is allocated to the city.
Waynesboro Vice Mayor Terry Short said the city is continuing to discuss the settlement with the trustees who wrote up the agreement.
“We are very pleased with how the city is positioned,” Short said on Monday, despite there being no guarantees that Waynesboro will get any of the millions of dollars included in the final settlement. “We are excited to continue our work with them (trustees) as we navigate the waters of how the funds are dispersed and awarded.”
It’s not clear why Short is “pleased” and “excited” with the city’s position, given the lack of any guaranteed funds for Waynesboro. City officials were at one time highly critical of the settlement draft for all but ignoring Waynesboro. But they changed their tune soon after informal talks began between some city officials and the trustees. It’s not clear what those talks consisted of or if the trustees have promised the city some kind of funding arrangement contingent upon the settlement’s approval.
Source: http://www.sbnonline.com, August 1, 2017
By: Adam Burroughs
No construction project is perfect. Regardless of how much experience the participants might have, mistakes, deficiencies and disputes happen.
“There is near certitude of flaws and conflict in the construction process,” says John M. Tedder, Shareholder and Director at Sherrard, German & Kelly, P.C., and a member of its Construction Services Group. “The most important aspects, then, are proper planning in the contracting process, and how the parties respond to claim situations when they do indeed occur.”
Smart Business spoke with Tedder about responding to claims in a construction project and mitigating them from the outset.
What is typically the basis for a construction claim?
Regardless of the size or complexity of the project, construction claims tend to fall into three primary categories:
Source: http://www.njlawjournal.com, July 31, 2017
By: Lewis Goldshore
During the New Jersey Supreme Court’s 2016-2017 term two significant environmental law cases were decided. One of the rulings limited the state’s potential liability pursuant to the Spill Compensation and Control Act. The other enabled policyholders to assign their rights to an environmental claim after an insured loss occurred. N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq.
Three additional cases of interest to environmental practitioners are on the court’s docket for the 2017-2018 term. The issues to be considered pertain to soil disturbance on preserved farms, the non-disclosure of a partial cleanup to a potential purchaser, and the allocation of risk in the insurance context.
• State’s Spill Act Liability. The state’s taxpayers can collectively breathe easier as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling in NL Industries v. State of New Jersey, which dismissed a Spill Act contribution claim asserted against the state. 228 N.J. 280 (2017), rev’g 442 N.J. Super. 403 (App. Div. 2015). For additional discussion of the lower court rulings that were reversed, see L. Goldshore, “State Dodges Spill Act Bullet,” 223 N.J.L.J. 1155 (Apr. 17, 2017).…
Source: Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), July 31, 2017
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com
The defendants have moved to dismiss a sweeping lawsuit over chemicals polluting the Widefield Aquifer.
The suit, brought last fall, alleges that chemical giant 3M and other firms that sold firefighting foam to the Air Force should have known that it contained dangerous perfluorinated compounds, now thought to be a health risk. Thousands of water users in Widefield, Fountain and Security were told to stop drinking water from the aquifer last year after testing determined it contained dangerous levels of the compounds.
Attorneys for 3M, in a motion to dismiss the proposed class-action suit, argued that the firm didn’t know the foam was toxic when it was sold to the Air Force. The motion also argues that the Air Force, not 3M, used the foam, and polluted the environment.
“3M’s action is too far removed from the claimed injury for the court to reasonably infer foreseeability,” attorneys for 3M wrote, “or any duty arising therefrom.”
While the Air Force last week admitted that foam releases at Peterson Air Force Base since the 1970s might have allowed the chemical to seep into the aquifer, the military isn’t named in the lawsuit. Suing the military is nearly impossible because of sovereign immunity, a legal doctrine that blocks all but the rarest claims against the government.…
Source: Mondaq Business Briefing, July 28, 2017
By: Mr Adam H. Fleischer and Joanna Gau Swartout
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com
Absolute pollution exclusions are intended to exclude coverage for virtually all pollution-related claims under commercial general liability insurance policies. However, jurisdictions across the country have varied in their treatment of these exclusions, with some jurisdictions applying the exclusion only to instances of “traditional” environmental pollution while others apply a broader, literal interpretation of the exclusion. Below are a few of the most recent examples of claims in which courts have examined this issue, followed by a link to our 50-state survey on the topic.
Sewage leakage #1: On May 31, 2017, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an insurer does not have to defend or indemnify a plumbing company for its purportedly negligent work during sewer repairs that led to toxic chemicals being released onto neighboring residential properties. In The Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Roy’s Plumbing Inc., the Second Circuit, applying New York law, found that the policy contained a broad definition of “pollutant” and that the lower court was correct in finding that the exclusion applied because the underlying suit alleged the exact type of traditional environmental pollution caused by substances of a polluting character, as was intended to be excluded.…
Source: http://www.waste360.com, July 31, 2017
By: Cheryl McMullen
On the western banks of the Colorado River in San Bernardino County, Calif., lies the city of Needles, population, 5,034. For nearly two years now, the city has allowed the cultivation and manufacturing of medical marijuana, charging a 10 percent excise tax on gross receipts from the cultivators.
In that short time, the city already has updated an ordinance regarding disposal of medical marijuana waste.
“Much like final disposition of unused pharmaceuticals, we kind of had that same concern of the remainder of the medical marijuana plant,” says City Manager Rick Daniels. “ It needs to be accounted for and not to be disposed of in such a way where it is accessible by others for use.”
Part of the ordinance allows for the use of volatile solvents in producing oils from the marijuana plants for medicinal purposes and the remainder adopts the city regulations applicable to the disposal of medical marijuana. It considers the waste non-hazardous solid waste, says Daniels.…
Source: http://www.nj.com, July 26, 2017
By: Tom Haydon
A couple that owned a businesses in town and became sick from leaking underground tanks owned by an adjacent business can sue the township for damages because the tanks were partially on municipal property, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
Edna and Edan Ben Elazar owned an electronics business in the township, and suffered long-term respiratory illnesses that were eventually traced to underground fuel and chemical tanks that belonged to the adjacent Macrietta dry cleaners, formally known at Swan dry cleaners, according to the court decision.
After the couple opened their business on North Avenue in 1988, they noticed odors coming from the cleaners. However, it was only in 2012 that a possible connection was made between those chemical odors and the illness the two people suffered.
Although the underground tanks were removed in 1998, the owners of the dry cleaners hired an environmental clean-up company in 2011 to test their property for a remedial clean-up, and that company discovered levels of chemical contamination in the ground that had spread under the Ben Eliazars’ business.
The environmental company notified the township and the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Ben Elazars.…
Source: http://www.wickedlocal.com, July 26, 2017
By: Shannon Gallagher
Several vacant or abandoned industrial properties in the Brockton region will be cleaned up for redevelopment, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced Wednesday.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, awarded Brownfield Redevelopment grants to one site in downtown Brockton and two properties in East Bridgewater, to be used for environmental assessment and cleanup.
Polito joined Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter Wednesday in the city’s downtown Transformative Development Initiative District, where $26,000 will be allocated to NeighborWorks of Southern Massachusetts for the clean up of the property at 121 Main St., on the corner of Frederick Douglass Avenue, where the old Kresge Five & Dime building once stood.
The building was demolished in April after city officials deemed it unsafe. NeighborWorks plans to redevelop the site into 48 units of affordable housing with ground floor retail.
In East Bridgewater, MassDevelopment awarded the town $99,400 to address environmental contamination at the Eastern States Steel site at Cook and West Union streets.
The long-abandoned Eastern States Steel factory sits atop several acres of land that has, in past years, tested high in soil pollutants and other environmental contaminants.
East Bridgewater will also receive $99,700 for the environmental assessment of the Precise Engineering site located on West Union Street.
The town plans to then redevelop the Precise Engineering site for commercial or light industrial use.
These Brockton and East Bridgewater sites are three of the nine environmentally contaminated sites across Massachusetts targeted for clean-up through Brownfield Redevelopment grants in 2017.…
Source: http://www.newsminer.com, July 27, 2017
By: Sam Friedman
The Fairbanks city government must pay more than half the bill for cleaning up toxic dry cleaning chemicals at the Shoppers Forum Mall, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason issued the order Tuesday in the dispute between the city and Shoppers Forum owner Gavora Inc. She ruled the city must pay 55 percent of remediation costs, with Gavora paying the remaining 45 percent.
The percentages apply to future costs and the $174,000 that Gavora has spent cleaning up the property.
Shoppers Forum is a small enclosed mall and shopping center at the intersection of Airport Way and Lathrop Street. Gavora acquired the lease for the property in 1976 and bought the property from the city in 2002.
The land was found to have toxic chemicals tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, most of which likely came from a dry cleaning business in an annex building, according to Gleason’s ruling.
Gavora had wanted the city to pay 66 percent of the cleanup costs, while the city asserted its responsibility was “far less,” according to Gleason’s summary of the case. A four-day bench trial was held in May at the federal building in Fairbanks.…
Source: Duluth News-Tribune (MN), July 26, 2017
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com
County and state officials responded to a sulfuric acid spill at the Boise Paper mill in International Falls last week.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported Tuesday that it was notified last week that about 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of sulfuric acid had spilled onto the production floor. The liquid flowed from a floor drain into the plant’s wastewater treatment facility, the MPCA reported; plant employees worked to neutralize the acid by adding an alkalizing agent, and eventually shut down the wastewater treatment facility.
The plant is located along the Rainy River, and staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Koochiching County Soil and Water Conservation District patrolled about 30 miles of the river downstream from International Falls on Friday and Saturday to look for evidence of a fish kill. They did not find any dead fish.
“It’s important to note that a fish kill would be a primary indicator of too much acid in a water body because acid affects the available oxygen, and when that decreases to a certain level, fish die,” MPCA spokeswoman Anne Moore said.
Boise worked with the MPCA to determine how to restart their wastewater treatment plant, and it is once again fully functional, the MPCA reported.
A message left with a media contact for Boise Paper on Tuesday was not returned.…