Quiz 50: Environmental Law and Land Use Controls


The Clean Air Act is a law to reduce the deteriorating conditions of air pollution. Under the act a new company wishing to establish a factory will have to apply for a permit from their state. Under the emissions offset policy the factory will have to follow standards such as having the best pollution controls, be in compliance with emission standards, and must offset pollution in other areas. Since, the factory will be a polluting source they won't be able to offset pollution. Thus, the factor will have to purchase pollution permit from another business, which has a permit to pollute a certain amount, through cap and trade.

Spillage of oil in the ocean will fall under the Oil Pollution Act. The act requires that oil companies have prevention plan for oil spillage and containment and clean up plans for spills. Furthermore, defenses for liability of Oil Pollution Act falls under 33 USC Section 2703 which includes act of God (natural disasters), war, or act of a third party. The company's defense that it exercised due care is not a complete defense for liability of oil spillage. The potential penalties are $3000 per barrel if willful or negligent; $250,000 and/or 5 years for failure to report.

Case summary: P owned a land on which it dumps manufacturing waste. Later, it sold the land to C which was further sold by C to S. S got a notice to remove the waste from the land as the waste was hazardous. S cleaned up the land for which it incurred huge cost. S asked C to reimburse the cost as a liability. Facts to this case • S purchased land which contained asbestos (a hazardous material). • The hazardous materials were a result of previous owner P who later sold it to C whom sold it to S. • S was required to clean up the asbestos. • S cleaned up the asbestos but asked the prior owners for reimbursement of the cleanup. Case Issue The issue is whether S can receive reimbursement for cleaning up hazardous material on the land he purchased. Note that the Superfund Act holds landowners responsible for hazardous materials on their land. Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - federal agency responsible for pollution control and penalizing non-complier of government environmental standards. Superfund Act - is an act which holds landowners and others responsible for hazardous material on a land liable for the cleanup of the hazardous material. Analysis and Conclusion The court held for S. They argued that: • Under the Superfund Act, all owners of the hazardous site are responsible for the cleanup cost. • S cleaned up the site and incurred cost. • Since S was owner of the site he may not receive the whole reimbursement for clean up , but he may receive a portion of the amount that the prior owner's P and C are responsible for. Thus, all owners are liable for the clean-up and the prior owners must contribute their amount of the hazard cost to S.

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