On December 17, 2014, EPA published in the Federal Register its proposed new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to sharply reduce the current ozone levels. These new standards will affect a wide range of industries, including those that paint, coat, bake, manufacture, package, or print.
The Supreme Court on January 20, 2015 denied certiorari in the Hobart case. As to private PRPs, after this denial, a company that wants to cooperate with EPA on a CERCLA environmental cleanup would be well advised to insist that EPA issue a unilateral 106 Order and respectfully decline to sign any consent order. In that way, the company would preserve the right to bring a 107 action against those that don't settle (a company receiving a 106 Order has not resolved its liability to the United States). It should retain the benefit of the longer statute of limitations, and would not have submitted to stipulated penalties, nor waived any defenses to exorbitant oversight costs. Additionally, if there is a dispute about the remedy, at least in the Seventh Circuit, EPA cannot get a permanent injunction but is limited to statutory penalties. In theory, EPA could hire a contractor to do the work and sue for treble damages, but at least in the past it has been reluctant to take that course.