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October 2011 Archives

Bankruptcy Does Not Discharge All Liability to Cleanup a Contaminated Site: Part I

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently confirmed that a party's liability to clean up a contaminated property was not discharged as part of a Chapter 11 reorganization, since such liability was not a "claim" under the Bankruptcy Code. See In re Mark IV Industries, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110595 (S.D.N.Y., Sept. 28, 2011). 

EPA Issues Interim Guidelines for Urban Agriculture on Brownfield Sites

Urban agriculture is exploding in cities - large and small - throughout the nation. In many cities, local land use laws and zoning ordinances are being amended or drafted to support this new-found passion. But with precious "green" space in cities (and rooftops in limited supply), many urban farmers may be forced to turn to contaminated spaces, i.e., brownfields, for their farming needs. But can these farmers ensure that these brownfield spaces are clean enough; how clean should soil be to be clean for farming? 

Owners of Automobile Repair Shop Found Strictly Liable for Petroleum Discharge under NY Oil Spill Act

If you're familiar with the harsh reality of property owner liability under the New York State Navigation Law's Oil Spill Act, this headline shouldn't raise any eyebrows. However, the holding of State of New York v. C.J. Burth Services, Inc., 79 A.D.3d 1298, 915 N.Y.S.2d 174 (N.Y. App. 3rd Dep't 2010), once again confirms the Draconian nature of strict liability for property owners in Spill Act cases. 

Sole Shareholder of Company that Owned Contaminated Site Found Liable as a "Current Operator" under CERLCA

In Litgo New Jersey, Inc. v. Martin, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2033 (D.N.J. Jan. 7, 2011) (denying Motion for Rehearing), the sole shareholder of company (a single-purpose entity) that owned a contaminated property was found liable as a "current operator" under CERCLA ยง 107(a) because he had "actual control over the day-to-day operations on the [property], including oversight and control over remedial activities carried out by [environmental remediation companies]." 

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