Justia Energy, Oil & Gas Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Vermont Supreme Court
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Appellant John Madden appealed the Public Service Board's order granting a certificate of public good for Appellee Cross Pollination, Inc.'s planned construction of a solar energy farm in the Town of New Haven. Appellant claimed that the Board erred in applying 30 V.S.A. 248, which regulates the construction of electric generation facilities, and should not have issued the certificate because the solar farm will have an "undue adverse effect" on the aesthetics of the natural landscape as defined by 30 V.S.A. 248(b)(5). Appellant's issue on appeal was the Board's use of the "Quechee test" so named from the Supreme Court's decision in "In re Quechee Lakes Corp.," 580 A.2d 957 (1990)): that the Board erred in applying the Quechee test and should have concluded that under 30 V.S.A. 248(b)(5) the project would have an "undue adverse effect" on the aesthetics of the land, and as a result, no certificate of public good should have issued. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the Board's findings in this case, and held that its decision was based on a correct reading of the law and is supported by its findings. View "In re Petition of Cross Pollination for a Certificate of Public Good" on Justia Law

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The issue on this appeal centers on who should bear responsibility for the cost of cleaning up petroleum contamination caused by releases from a gas station's underground storage tanks. The controversy in this appeal was between the State of Vermont, which runs the Vermont Petroleum Cleanup Fund (VPCF) and Stonington Insurance Co. (Stonington), which insured Bradford Oil, the owner of the underground storage tanks, for approximately a three-and-a-half-year period. The State appealed the trial court's judgment limiting Stonington's liability to a 4/27 share of past and future cleanup costs and awarded the State $45,172.05. On appeal, the State argued: (1) the Supreme Court's application of time-on-the-risk allocation in "Towns v. Northern Security Insurance Co." did not preclude joint and several liability under all standard occurrence-based policy language; (2) the circumstances here, including the reasonable expectations of the insured and the equity and policy considerations, support imposing joint and several liability on Stonington for all of the State's VPCF expenditures; and (3) even if time-on-the-risk allocation would otherwise be appropriate, Stonington was not entitled to such allocation because it failed to show sufficient facts to apply this allocation method in this case. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that "Towns" was the controlling case law here, and the Court was unconvinced by the State's reasonable expectations, equity, and policy arguments to distinguish the "Towns" decision. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the lower court's decision. View "Bradford Oil Co. v. Stonington Insurance Co." on Justia Law