Shaina Brown

Air quality liability causes confusion for CA industry

By Shaina Brown

Capitol Update, April 7, 2017 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

AB 421 (Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles) passed out of Assembly Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials last week and will now move on to Assembly Judiciary. This bill would make “emission into the air” eligible for cost recovery under the California Hazardous Substances Account Act (HSAA). This legislation flies in the face of a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., where the court unanimously ruled that emissions into the air do not qualify as a “disposal” under CERCLA, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, known also as the Superfund.

This bill is very problematic for industry in California, creating confusion and potential liability for permitted emitters. AB 421 also contains retroactive language that litigation may now arise from air emissions that occurred 35 years ago. CMTA is part of a larger coalition that opposes AB 421. We will continue to provide updates on this bill as it moves through the process. 

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