Category Archives: statute of limitations

The Statute of Limitations Narrows a Bit More on PSD Violations: Sierra Club Suffers a Self-Inflicted Wound

The law is full of fine distinctions.  Today’s example?  A divided 10th Circuit panel affirmed dismissal of the Sierra Club’s citizen suit claims against Oklahoma Gas and Electric concerning alleged PSD violations at OG&E’s Muskogee plant muskogeebecause the Sierra Club did not sue within five years of the commencement of construction – even though Sierra Club did sue within five years of the completion of construction.… More

CERCLA Remains Ridiculous: A Remedy In Operation For 18 Years Is “Short Term”

Far too frequently, we are reminded just how hard judges must work to save CERCLA from itself.  The decision last week in California River Watch v. Fluor Corporation is the most recent compelling example.

Fluor Corporation has been performing response actions at a site, including operating a soil vapor extraction system, since no later than 1997.  Fluor’s remedial action plan was not approved until 2011 and a modified RAP was approved in 2014.… More

Perhaps EPA’s NSR Enforcement Initiative Is Now Dead? EPA Loses Another

Last year, after a string of defeats for EPA in its NSR enforcement initiative, I suggested that the initiative was in trouble, but that EPA was probably not yet ready to concede defeat.  After the latest blow, earlier this month, EPA has to be reconsidering.  I assume that EPA won’t give up completely until it has lost everywhere or the Supreme Court has weighed in, but the NSR initiative is definitely on life support at this point.… More

CERCLA’s Three Year Statute of Limitations for Contribution Applies To Non-CERCLA Settlements

Parties which settle environmental liability in a judicially approved settlement have three years from the date of that settlement in which to seek contribution even if the settlement is not a CERCLA settlement.  That is the holding in a recent federal case in Montana, ASARCO LLC v. Atlantic Richfield Company.  There, ASARCO had entered into a 1998 consent decree under RCRA and the Clean Water Act to remediate a contaminated site that for over a century had been used as a lead smelting facility. … More

Is Death A Defense To CERCLA Liability?

In contrast to the early days of Superfund when no argument for extending CERCLA liability was too far-fetched, the Second Circuit recently rejected one of the all-time “Hail Mary” passes for CERCLA contribution.  The case, ASARCO LLP v. Goodwin, involved a 2009 settlement by ASARCO of Superfund liability involving several contaminated mines it owned in Everett, Washington.  After settling, ASARCO asserted contribution claims against residuary trusts established in 1937 by the will of John D.… More

Do Statutes of Repose Under CERCLA Really Require Supreme Court Review

Even Superfund lawyers are likely to find the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday in CTS Corporation v. Waldburger to be of limited interest.  Unable to reach an agreement about a federal “toxic tort” cause of action, Congress in the 1986 amendments to CERCLA settled on a limited provision that federalized the equitable tolling of statutes of limitation applicable to state toxic tort claims so that toxic tort claims would not accrue until a plaintiff either knew or should have known of his claim. … More

Is the NSR Enforcement Initiative Dead Yet? Injunctive Relief Claims Dismissed Against U.S. Steel

Last Friday, EPA lost another NSR enforcement case. Not only that, but this was a case EPA had previously won. As we noted last August, Chief Judge Philip Simon of the Northern District of Indiana, had previously ruled that the United States could pursue injunctive relief claims against United States Steel with respect to allegations by EPA that US Steel had made major modifications to its plant in Gary,… More

Yes, Virginia, NSR Really is a Preconstruction Permitting Program: Another NSR Enforcement Case Fails on Statute of Limitations Grounds

The trend of cases holding that the NSR provisions of the Clean Air Act constitute a one-time preconstruction review requirement got stronger earlier this month, as the decision in Sierra Club v. Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company dismissed claims by the Sierra Club related to facility modifications that occurred more than five years prior to entry of a tolling agreement between the parties.  The decision may not break any new ground,… More

Enforcing CERCLA’s Three Year Statute of Limitations for Removal Actions

Although courts are sometimes reluctant to enforce them, there really are hard stops in CERCLA, particularly the three year statute of limitations for recovery of costs incurred in a removal action.  In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection v. Beazer East, Inc., the Third Circuit recently affirmed the dismissal of a CERCLA cost recovery action by the State of Pennsylvania on the basis of the three year limitations period for removal actions.  … More