Hazardous Substances Remediation

NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation Proposes New Enforcement Rules

In September 2022, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) published draft rules proposing to establish OER’s authority to commence enforcement actions against parties who fail to comply with OER-approved Site Management Plans (SMPs). The proposed rules would enable OER to issue summonses returnable before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, and seek…

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Developments in Regulation of PFAS

  Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continue to emerge, so to speak, as a focus of regulatory attention on many levels: health, environmental remediation, and manufacturing. Below, we discuss some of the more recent developments affecting this ubiquitous class of chemicals. Nicknamed “forever chemicals,” PFAS are a family of chemical compounds with a wide range…

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U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of CERCLA Contribution Claims by Settling Parties

On May 24, 2021, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Territory of Guam v. United States that a party’s claim for contribution under Section 113(f)(3)(B) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), 42 U.S.C. § 9613(f)(3)(B), and therefore the commencement of the limitations period for such a claim, requires resolution specifically of…

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CERCLA Claims and Statute of Limitation Issues: An Analysis

The remediation of decades-old hazardous waste sites has increasingly prompted defendants in CERCLA cases to assert the statute of limitations as a defense, revealing two inflection points that the CERCLA practitioner must navigate.  The first is whether a party has asserted a cost-recovery claim under CERCLA Section 107(a) or a contribution claim under Section 113(f). …

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Wartime Regulation Does Not Render Government an Operator Under CERCLA, Third Circuit Rules

On May 4, 2020, the Third Circuit issued a decision in PPG Industries v. United States, a case which considered whether the government’s involvement at a chromium processing plant during World War II made it an “operator” liable for cleanup costs under Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”).  The…

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EPA Releases Enforcement Discretion Guidance in Response to COVID-19

These days, it seems as though COVID-19 is leaving no aspect of government untouched, and federal environmental regulation is no exception. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a memorandum on Thursday, March 26th outlining “COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program.” This temporary guidance explains how EPA plans to exercise enforcement discretion…

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