Executive Branch

August 29, 2011

S.C. jury awards $4.7 million in toxic chemical case

Source: Lawyers USA, August 15, 2011
Posted on: http://fpn.advisen.com

A pair of South Carolina attorneys recently won millions in a personal injury case after rejecting a low ball settlement offer and overcoming a lack of medical evidence to prove the cause of their client’s life-altering disability.

William S. Tetterton and co-counsel Vincent A. Sheheen represented a father of two who began having debilitating muscle spasms after inhaling a toxic chemical that was sprayed into the small cab of a crane he was operating.

The crane operator, Terry Geddings, and his wife, Candace, sued contractor D&L Inc., alleging that two of its employees had acted recklessly when they sprayed six to a dozen bottles of a product called Blast-A-Coil into the crane’s air conditioning unit while Geddings was still inside.

The Achilles’ heel of their case was the fact that no medical or scientific study had ever established a connection between the inhalation of trichloroethylene, or TCE – the chemical used in Blast- A-Coil – and permanent nerve or muscle damage in humans.…

August 17, 2011

FERC Releases New Transmission Rules

Source: Cozen O’Connor’s Energy, Environmental and Utilities Group “News Concerning Recent Developments in Energy and Environmental Law” Newsletter, August 16, 2011

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its Final Rule on Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation by Transmission Owning and Operating Public Utilities on July 21, 2011. The new rule is meant to address inadequacies in the existing transmission system that make it difficult to achieve a free market in power transmission, where generators are able to compete across vast distances to supply consumers. Without new transmission rules, congestion is only expected to grow more acute, especially due to the fact that 60 percent of new generation is being achieved through wind and solar resources that are oftentimes located far from the large population centers they supply energy to.

The rule requires transmission providers to participate in regional planning and cost-allocation so that decisions are made and paid for, collaboratively, by the affected regions. The rule also calls for transmission providers to consider state and federal goals of expanding the use of renewable energy in their decisions relating to transmission growth. However, the FERC ruling did not address the cumbersome permitting process, which is often cited as the largest obstacle to installing new transmission capacity.  The rule has received widespread support from renewable energy companies and transmission developers.…

September 3, 2010

Lead, Arsenic and Zinc Found in Residential Units

Acknowledgement to Great American

A housing stock transfer was undertaken between a Local Authority and a private management company involving approximately 7,000 residential units. A problem emerged when unusually high levels of lead, arsenic and zinc were discovered on surrounding properties. When tests were conducted, it became apparent that the residential units had been built on land used as a chemical dump from the early 1900s to 1960s by a company still operating in the area. A class action was brought against the Local Authority by residents, alleging health risks and diminishing property values. Residents perceived to be at risk from the presence of contamination were relocated. Significant investigations were undertaken to assess the extent of the problem. A combination of remediation, compensation, and relocation of residents was eventually achieved and paid for by the original polluter. Although liability was not deemed to ultimately lie with the Local Authority, significant costs were incurred to demonstrate the absence of liability. The Local Authority was eventually able to recover the costs incurred through a claim against the responsible parties, including the previous landowner and the developer.…

September 3, 2010

Solvent Waste Contaminates Lab

Acknowledgement to Great American

A drum of spent solvent waste located in a storage shed on the property of a laboratory was knocked over as employees were attempting to move several drums. Before the spill was contained, the solvent waste ran across the laboratory’s parking lot and on to the ground of an adjacent property. The Laboratory was responsible for the associated emergency clean-up costs.…

September 1, 2010

Train fire, toxic cargo shut city

Acknowledgement to Ironshore Environmental

baltimoresun.com

Firefighters stymied as CSX freight burns in Howard St. Tunnel; Civil defense sirens wail; I-395, Inner Harbor closed; water main break cuts power

By David Michael Ettlin and Del Quentin Wilber
Sun Staff
July 19, 2001

Civil defense sirens wailed and major highways into Baltimore were closed after a freight train hauling hazardous chemicals caught fire yesterday afternoon in a century-old railroad tunnel under Howard Street, shutting down much of the city’s downtown.

Choking black smoke spewed from both ends of the 1.7-mile Howard Street Tunnel, and fear of an explosion or toxic fumes from a cargo that included dangerous acids prompted authorities to ban pedestrians and vehicles within five blocks of its openings at Camden Yards and Mount Royal Station.…