August 30, 2017

Lead-Based Paint Is a “Pollutant” within CGL Pollution Exclusion

Source:, August 2017
By: Kent Holland

Where lead-based paint was ingested by a tenant’s child, the tenant sued her landlord for injuries allegedly sustained by the child. The landlord tendered the claim to its commercial general liability (CGL) insurer who, instead of defending the case, filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination that the pollution exclusion of the CGL policy barred coverage for the alleged injuries. The Owner held that, although not specifically listed in the pollution definition as a “pollutant,” lead-based paint is, in fact, a “pollutant” within the meaning of the policy. The policy’s pollution exclusion was, therefore, applicable, and the insurer had no duty to defend and indemnify the landlord. See Georgia Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Smith, 298 Ga. 716, 784 S.E.2d 422 (2016).

The terms of the CGL policy required the insurer “to pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of ‘bodily injury’ or ‘property damage’” … “only if: (1) the ‘bodily injury’ or ‘property damage’ is caused by an ‘occurrence’ that takes place ….” An occurrence is defined as “an accident.” Coverage was subject to exclusions, including the pollution exclusion, which provided that the insurance does not apply to “(1) ‘[b]odily injury’ or ‘property damage’ arising out of the actual, alleged or threatened discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, release or escape of ‘pollutants’: (a) [a]t or from any premises, site or location which is or was at any time owned or occupied by, or rented or loaned to, any insured.”…

January 23, 2012

Patriot Coal Agrees To Settle Selenium Pollution Claims

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 19, 2012
Posted on:

Patriot Coal Corp. has agreed to pay $7.5 million civil penalty and install pollution treatment systems at some of its West Virginia mining complexes to settle a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental groups last year.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Huntington, W.V. in February, alleged that selenium discharges from Patriot mining complexes exceeded limits in the company’s state water permits and the federal Clean Water Act.

Wednesday’s settlement is the latest attempt by Patriot to resolve selenium pollution claims that have dogged the company for years. In September 2010, a federal judge found the company in contempt of court and ordered it to clean up selenium pollution at two mines.

Patriot called Wednesday’s agreement “a strategic response” to the issue.

“We are pleased that this settlement provides a comprehensive framework for Patriot to address selenium across our properties going forward,” Richard M. Whiting, Patriot’s chief executive said in a statement.

The company, which on Friday announced plans to idle a company-owned mine and several contractor-operated mines in response to weaker demand for coal used in steelmaking, didn’t say how much it would cost to develop and install the selenium treatment systems.

In a November regulatory filing, Patriot said it had a $143 million liability on its balance sheet to address selenium discharges.

Groups that sued Patriot include the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and the Sierra Club — the same groups that forced a $2 million selenium pollution settlement with Arch Coal Inc.

The 59-page settlement with Patriot is subject to a public comment period and must be approved by the court before its implemented.

The $7.5 million in penalties will be paid to the federal government and West Virginia Land Trust for watershed preservation projects.…

May 31, 2011

Maine contractor pays for 2 quarry blasts

Source:, May 30, 2011

A Maine quarry owner and contractor has signed an agreement with the city of Augusta acknowledging a subcontractor failed to notify neighbors of two quarry blasts that sent dust into local neighborhoods.

Contractor Steve McGee agreed to pay $3,500 through subcontractor Maine Drilling and Blasting, which wrote the check.

McGee signed the agreement after the city filed suit against his company, Steve McGee Construction.

The Kennebec Journal says the agreement was a result of two blasts at McGee’s quarry operation near the Grandview neighborhood, on Nov. 3 and Dec. 14 of last year.

In March, the city said McGee Construction failed to notify neighbors within a certain distance of the pit before the blasts, as required by city ordinance.…

March 28, 2011

Coal company faces pollution lawsuit

Source: Charleston Daily Mail (WV), March 24, 2011
Posted on:

Three environmental groups sued coal operator ICG Eastern in federal court Wednesday over a Webster County surface mine they say has been discharging toxic selenium into streams for years.

The Sierra Club, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy filed the case in U.S. District Court in Elkins over the Knight-Ink No. 1 mine. The complaint alleges violations of both state and federal law, including the federal Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

The complaint also claims state regulators have been lax in cracking down on ICG, allowing discharges into Big Beaver Creek, and two tributaries, Oldhe Fork and Board Fork, at levels above those designed to protect aquatic life. The mine is in east-central West Virginia, in a scenic, sparsely populated county that juts into the Monongahela National Forest.…

March 24, 2011

Coal Operator Sued Over Selenium Pollution

Read here about a company sued by three environmental groups over selenim pollution from a West Virginia mine.…

March 16, 2011

Coal miner Consol to pay EPA $5.5 mn for pollution

Source: The Economic Times, March 15, 2011

Coal miner Consol Energy agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $5.5 million in civil penalties for Clean Water Act violations at six of its mines in West Virginia, the Department of Justice said on Monday.

Consol will also spend an estimated $200 million in pollution controls to reduce discharges of harmful mining wastewater into Appalachian streams and rivers, the DOJ said.

The Pittsburgh-based mining company said in a separate release its agreement with the DOJ, the EPA and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) would set the highest standard for mine water treatment.

Consol said it agreed to pay the EPA $5.5 million, without admitting any liability. The amount was previously recognized in the company’s financial statements and will have no impact on 2011 earnings.…

February 2, 2011

Largest Environmental Bankruptcy in U.S. History Will Result in Payment of $1.79 Billion towards Environmental Cleanup and Restoration / Largest recovery of money for hazardous waste clean up ever

Source:, December 10, 2009

As a result of the largest environmental bankruptcy in U.S. history, $1.79 billion has been paid to fund environmental cleanup and restoration under a bankruptcy reorganization of American Smelting and Refining Company LLC (ASARCO), the Justice Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture announced today.

ASARCO is a leading producer of copper and one of the largest nonferrous metal producers in the United States. It is based in Arizona and is responsible for sites around the country that are contaminated with hazardous waste.

The money from environmental settlements in the bankruptcy will be used to pay for past and future costs incurred by federal and state agencies at more than 80 sites contaminated by mining operations in 19 states. Those states are Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington.…

February 2, 2011

In Old Mining Town, New Charges Over Asbestos

Source:, April 22, 2006
By: Kirk Johnson

As W. R. Grace & Company prepares for a major criminal trial over widespread asbestos contamination here, doctors at the clinic that has treated hundreds of asbestos victims accuse the company of trying to discredit them and force the clinic to close.

The doctors are scheduled to be important witnesses for the prosecution when the federal criminal trial gets under way this fall in Missoula. They testified at several civil trials involving the contamination; Grace lost those cases.

The nonprofit clinic, the Center for Asbestos Related Disease, widely known as CARD, has been a sanctuary here for hundreds of sick and dying people as this former mining town’s extraordinary battle with asbestos unfolded over the last six years. …

November 23, 2010

EPA to clean up around schools in ‘Old Lead Belt’

Publication Date 11/20/2010
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday it will remove and replace lead-contaminated soil around 11 schools and 16 child care and Head Start centers in St. Francois County.

The soil removal is expected to protect more than 5,300 children in Park Hills, Bonne Terre and Desloge from potentially harmful exposure to lead.

The cleanup effort is the largest in the state to focus on such facilities in at least the past several years, said Chris Whitley, an EPA spokesman. The presence of lead is nothing new to residents of St. Francois County, which is part of the “Old Lead Belt,” where mining occurred for more than 100 years. The St. Joe Minerals Corp. disposed of lead mine tailings from 1929 to 1958 in the area, the EPA said.…