Sarah Spencer

All articles by Sarah Spencer


NJ District Ct Sets High Bar To Impose CERCLA and RCRA Liability Against Government For Remedial Costs – Direct Control Needed

In PPG Industries, Inc. v. United States of America, et al., the District Court in New Jersey recently found in favor of the government in a CERCLA contribution action. PPG Industries, Inc. (plaintiff) sued the United States, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Commerce (defendants) for (1) cost recovery and contribution under CERCLA and for remediation assistance under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The plaintiff owned property in Jersey City, New Jersey and operated a chromite
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Nuclear NY: “ZEC” Subsidies Permitted by Second Circuit

On September 27, 2018, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s ruling in Coalition for Competitive Elec., et al. v. Zibelman, et al., and determined that New York State’s ZEC program is neither field nor conflict preempted. No. 17-2654, 2018 WL 4622696 (2nd Cir. Sept. 27, 2018). Moreover, the court found that the plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to raise a dormant Commerce Clause claim. In August 2016, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) adopted the
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California Leading the Charge In Renewable Energy

Recently, the Assembly of the State of California approved the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 or “SB100” which will require all energy used in the state to come from renewable sources by December 31, 2045. The bill, authored by State Senator Kevin de León, passed the California Senate last year, the Assembly on August 28, 2018, and was reconciled by the Senate on August 29, 2018. All that remains before the bill becomes law, is Governor Jerry Brown’s
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NYS DEC Adopts First Major Update to State’s Environmental Quality Review Regulations in 20 Years

On June 28, 2018, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) promulgated revisions to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). These are the first substantial revisions to SEQRA in over 20 years.The amendments go into effect beginning January 1, 2019 and will apply to all pending and future actions. Under SEQRA, actions are classified into three main designations: Type I, Type II, and Unlisted. The new amendments provide major changes to the types of projects that fall under the Type I and Type II classifications. The new
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PFAS Alert: New York State Court Certifies PFOA Class Action

On July 3, 2018, a state court in New York certified a class action lawsuit that involves residents of Petersburgh, New York who claim exposure to varying levels of the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA is in the class of chemicals known as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances and was used to make heat, water, and stain resistant household and commercial products. Think Teflon, Scotchgard, GORE-TEX, fast food wrappers, etc. This is the first class action matter that’s been certified in the State of New York that involves
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NY’s Highest Court Makes it Clear – NYS DEC Has Authority to Unilaterally Remediate Hazardous Waste Sites

In October 2016, New York’s Appellate Division held that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) overstepped its boundaries when it unilaterally undertook the remediation of FMC’s site in Niagara County, New York. FMC Corp. v. New York State Dept. of Envtl. Conservation, 143 A.D.3d 1128 (3d Dept. 2016). NY’s highest court – the Court of Appeals – smacked down the Appellate Division’s ruling and reversed it. The facts: For over 60 years, FMC has owned and operated a 103-acre property in the Village
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