Description: Citizen suit alleging failures to prepare a bulk storage and fuel terminal in New Haven, Connecticut for the effects of climate change.
Conservation Law Foundation v. Gulf Oil LP
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/29/2022 Ruling Download Counts dismissed without prejudice for lack of standing. Standing Allegations Found Inadequate in Climate Adaptation Case Concerning Gulf Oil New Haven Petroleum Storage Terminal. The federal district court for the District of Connecticut agreed with defendant Gulf Oil LP (Gulf) that Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) failed to allege an injury in fact for purposes of standing in CLF’s citizen suit charging that Gulf failed to prepare its bulk petroleum storage facility in New Haven, Connecticut for the impacts of climate change. The court found that “although the complaint discusses the worsening impacts of climate change on New Haven at great length, Plaintiff does not articulate whether or how such impacts will imminently lead to the discharge of pollutants from Defendant’s Terminal.” The court distinguished the allegations in similar lawsuits in which CLF established standing, finding that the allegations in the other cases concerned not “just the likely future occurrence of major and foreseeable weather events” but “how such weather events would result in the discharge of pollutants, thereby validating Plaintiff’s theory of increased risk of exposure to such pollutants as its near-term injury.” The court also distinguished the other cases based on their allegations that past severe storms had caused pollutant discharges. The court dismissed nine Clean Water Act counts and all Resource Conservation and Recovery Act counts without prejudice, and granted CLF leave to file an amended complaint to address the deficiencies in its standing allegations. 08/24/2022 Motion Download Defendant filed memorandum of law in support of its motion to compel. 02/28/2022 Order Court directed that this case and Shell Oil case remain with assigned judges. The court found that this case was not sufficiently related to Conservation Law Foundation v. Shell Oil Co. (No. 3:21-CV-933) to necessitate the same judge handling both matters. 02/23/2022 Brief Download Brief filed by Conservation Law Foundation in response to February 16, 2022 order. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) argued that this case was not related to Conservation Law Foundation v. Shell Oil Company (No. 3:21-cv-933) and that transfer to the same judge was not necessary. If the case was transferred, CLF contended that the cases should not be consolidated. 02/23/2022 Response Download Report filed by Gulf Oil LP in response to court's February 16, 2022 order. Gulf Oil LP told the court that it agreed that this case was related to Conservation Law Foundation, Inc. v. Shell Oil Company (No. 3:21-CV-933), and that the Shell lawsuit should be transferred to this court. Gulf Oil also contended that the cases could be properly consolidated for discovery and pre-trial purposes only. 02/16/2022 Order Parties ordered to file responses regarding possible related case (Conservation Law Foundation v. Shell Oil Co. (No. 3:21-CV-933)). 12/15/2021 Reply Download Memorandum of law filed in support of motion to dismiss. 11/24/2021 Opposition Download Memorandum of law filed in support of Conservation Law Foundation's opposition to defendant's motion to dismiss. 10/20/2021 Motion to Dismiss Download Memorandum of law filed by Gulf Oil LP in support of motion to dismiss. 07/07/2021 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Two New Citizen Suits Asserted Failure to Prepare Fuel Terminals for Climate Change. On July 7, 2021, Conservation Law Foundation filed two citizen suits asserting that the defendants’ bulk storage and fuel terminals in New Haven, Connecticut violated the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The complaints alleged that the defendants had not designed, maintained, modified, or operated their terminals to account for “the numerous effects of climate change,” including sea-level rise and more frequent and more severe storms. Conservation Law Foundation sought declaratory and injunctive relief, civil penalties, environmental restoration and compensatory mitigation, and costs of litigation, including attorney and expert witness fees.