Jul 27, 2017

U.S. Government Liable Under CERCLA as Owner for Mining Patent Leases in $1 Billion Environmental Clean-Up

Mining equipment

On July 19th, the Tenth Circuit determined that the U.S. government is liable for environmental contamination at a mining site operated by Chevron and other mining entities under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601 et seq. Chevron Mining Inc. v. United States, No. 15-2209, 2017 WL 3045887, at *1 (10th Cir. July 19, 2017). Anticipated cleanup costs exceed $1 billion. Under the 1872 General Mining Act, 30 U.S.C. § 22, the U.S. government holds legal title and mining patents or claims are filed to specific portions of federal property. The 10th… Read more

Aug 4, 2014

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Narrows Clean Water Act Permit Shield

Finding that mining industry arguments in the case would “tear a large hole” in the Clean Water Act, a unanimous panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the liability of A&G Coal Corp. for discharges of selenium that were not authorized by its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for its mining activities at a site in Virginia.  Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards (SAMS), et al. v. A&G Coal Corp. (4th Cir., July 11, 2014).  A&G had argued that the Clean Water Act (CWA) permit shield, under which discharge of a pollutant does not violate the CWA provided… Read more