Thursday, June 07, 2012

Pollution and General Liability

An FB discussion on Fracking has led to this post... Thoughts on Pollution, and a business' liability for polluting.

Companies, especially energy companies get sued, often, for polluting the environment. Even entire countries get involved.  Mediation doesn't always work.

The standard Commercial General Liability language (Called an ISO form) has an "Absolute Pollution Exclusion."  You can nerd out on the lawyer speak here.

Insurance companies responded by creating special endorsements.  ACE created a program for public entitiesAmerican Safety has a strong program for Contractors and has been writing for Pest Control Operators in CA for 17 years.

But those companies don't make the news.  Fracking does.  Positive. And, negative.

Pollution insurance can be purchased.  But the limits and exclusions can get dicey.  Does the claim need to be attached to an event, such as a "sudden and accidental" spillage of XXX.  A leaky paint can that dribbles over years into a well wouldn't be covered. 

What about years, and years later, when the company is long gone?  Depends.

Ultimately, this is a States Right issue, since the EPA does have some guidelines, insurance law is state by state.  The cloudy areas get little sunlight from either side, thus the poor buggers living near the brownfield get drizzled on, with no recourse other than to move. 

Solution:  Allow claims in perpetuity.  No statute of limitations.  Let the driller, fracker, or other industry know that they're on the hook, forever.  Period.  End of story.  Whether this is done on the State, or Federal level, I defer to a silly lawyer type person.

As long as an individual is protected against the Federal Gov't, State Gov't, and a company/corporation, the courts will ultimately sort it out.  The key is:  Protecting the Individual who happens to live there...

Now, fracking get off FB, get back to work! 

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