No Statute of Limitations for Private Contribution Claims Under New Jersey’s Spill Act

By June Y. Lee |   Apr. 15, 2015

Selling a piece of commercial property often requires much negotiation and planning, and generally represents the culmination of a result of a well-reasoned business decision. And at the conclusion of the deal—and depending on the terms—the seller is divesting itself oftentimes of both an asset and liability. But for those sellers who believe that a sale provides an ending of the relationship with a particular property, recently the Supreme Court stated “not so fast.” Reversing the Appellate Court’s decision, the Supreme Court recently determined that there is no applicable statute of limitations, governing environmental contamination in New Jersey.

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Topics : Guidance, Legislation, Agreements & Abatements, Regulation, Commercial Real Estate, Environment, Environmental Law | 0 Comments Read More

EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

By Jeffrey W. Cappola |   Aug. 11, 2014

The United States Supreme Court ruled in June that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must reduce its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources. The EPA tried to increase two of its permit programs to include emissions of carbon dioxide from stationary sources, which the Court ruled as a violation of the Clean Air Act. The EPA “can continue to treat greenhouse gas emissions as a pollutant for so-called ‘anyway’ sources that already require a permit under the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) program for conventional pollutants like particulate matter, but cannot do the same from defining a ‘major emitting facility’ for Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) or a ‘major source’ for Title V.” Many groups that challenged the EPA’s interpretation of the rule claimed that they were trying to fit greenhouse gas regulations around the very different PSD program; the Court ruled that the EPA has no authority to “tailor” the language of the Clean Air Act to fit their policy goal. Although the EPA had some of its authority struck down, the agency was happy with the decision because it can still “require carbon pollution limits for the nation’s largest sources.”

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Topics : Litigation, Regulation, Climate Change | 0 Comments Read More

EPA Looks to Reduce Methane Emissions from Landfills

By Jeffrey W. Cappola |   Aug. 4, 2014

As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA is proposing to require certain landfills to capture extra landfill gas in order to decrease methane emissions. Methane is a strong greenhouse gas, its global warming potential is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Landfills are the third largest anthropogenic source of methane in the United States, and methane emissions account for 9% of all emitted greenhouse gases. The new proposal would require landfills to increase their capture of methane and air toxics emissions by 13% by 2023, which would mean capturing two-thirds of emissions. The estimated compliance cost of this proposal is $471,000 in 2023.

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Topics : Regulation, Climate Change | 0 Comments Read More

The Clean Water Act - Is Groundwater Included?

By Jeffrey W. Cappola |   Jul. 15, 2014

There has been much controversy in the courts as to whether groundwater can be defined as “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Courts are split on this decision, with equal numbers of rulings on both sides. One case that has been highlighted in this debate is Tri Realty Co. v. Ursinus College. In this case, a residential apartment complex owner claimed that Ursinus College’s underground storage tanks had leaked heating oil into the ground contaminated the soil on his property, and nearby Perkiomen Creek. The owner filed a claim under the Oil Pollution Act (“OPA”) and said that the contaminated groundwater is “hydrologically connected to Perkiomen Creek and its tributary.” The case went before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where they ruled that the Clean Water Act and OPA don’t give federal authority over groundwater. This ruling was based on the precedent set forth by Rapanos v. United States, which decided that “navigable waters” should not be broadly interpreted. Therefore, the OPA claim was dismissed on the grounds that the owner failed to claim that the oil discharged into navigable waters because groundwater is not navigable water.

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Topics : Litigation, Regulation, Environmental Law | 0 Comments Read More

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