Fox River Case Summary
On December 16, 2009, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin denied the contribution claims of two responsible parties and required them to pay the entire cost of the PCB cleanup of the Lower Fox River, estimated to exceed one billion dollars. See Appleton Papers Inc. v. George A. Whiting Paper Co., No. 08-C-16 (E.D. Wisc. Dec. 16, 2009) (decision and order dismissing Plaintiffs' claims for contribution), at 3-4, 47. Rather than apportioning the cleanup costs among other contribution defendants under § 113 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, the Court found that such an allocation was not supported by the equities of the case. In an effort to provide its clients and other industry leaders with timely and objective analysis, Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, P.C. has prepared the following case brief.
2008-2009 Supreme Court Decisions Impacting Environmental Laws
During its 2008-2009 term, the United States Supreme Court took up four cases impacting environmental matters in varying degrees. In the most significant case - Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States - the Court narrowed the scope of "arranger" liability and clarified the scope of "joint and several" liability under CERCLA. In another case, Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Court addressed the propriety of injunctive relief restricting the Navy's use of sonar because of its impact on marine life off the coast of California. The Court consolidated and decided three cases, referred to as Riverkeeper, dealing with the EPA's discretion to use a cost-benefit analysis when determining "the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact" under the Clean Water Act. Finally, in Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, the Court determined that the Army Corps of Engineers, not the EPA, has authority under the Clean Water Act, to issue § 404 permits for the discharge of fill material, which discharge is not subject to EPA "new source performance standards." Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC summarized these opinions and their potential impact.
Port Environmental Issues- Natural Resources Damages
The environmental issues facing ports today are increasingly complex and often driven by economic and political considerations. These cases frequently arise under CERCLA, RCRA, OPA as well as Clean Water Act and state law equivalents. Our experience representing public and private port authorities across a broad spectrum of inter-related commercial, industrial and environmental matters provides JGD with unique insight into the day-to-day challenges ports face. Our presentation to the American Association of Port Authorities is a comprehensive look at environmental and natural resources damages (NRD) issues common to ports across the country.
Advising Small Businesses
As domestic economic initiatives and environmental policies converge, it is more important than ever for small and mid-size businesses to have a better understanding of the potential impacts new and existing environmental policies and regulations may have on their respective businesses and industries. Corporate executives, plant managers, compliance officers, and risk managers are increasingly tasked with trying to assess and address historical environmental liabilities. Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC routinely advises private and public entities of all sizes ranging from closely held corporations to state government agencies on a variety of complex environmental, commercial, regulatory and NRD matters. This presentation is a comprehensive look at the environmental issues facing businesses in a troubled economy.