Abstract: Liability Issues Surrounding Oil Drilling Mud Sumps
Janet J. Dillon
This presentation examines liability issues surrounding oil drilling mud sumps and discusses them in relation to two recent cases that arose in Ventura County, California. Following a brief history of regulatory interest in oil drilling mud and its common hazardous substances, various cause, of action arising from oil drilling mud deposits are enumerated, followed by defenses to these causes of action.
Section 8002 (m) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is mentioned, as are constituents of oil and gas waste not inherent in petroleum and therefore not exempt from regulation under the petroleum exclusion in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Recovery Act. Key legal words such as hazardous substance, release, public and private nuisance, trespass, responsible parties, joint and several liability, negligence, and strict liability are explained.
The effects on liability of knowledge of the deposits, duty to restore land to its original condition, consent to the deposit of oil drilling mud, and noncompliance and compliance with permit conditions are analyzed. The state-of-the-art defense and research to establish this defense are mentioned. The newly created cause of action for fear of increased risk of cancer is discussed.
Issues on transfer of property where oil drilling mud has been deposited are explored, such as knowledge of prior owners being imputed to later owners, claims of fraudulent concealment, and "as is" clauses.
The effects on the oil and gas industry of the California Court of Appeals for the Second District rulings in Dolan v. Humacid-MacLeod and Stevens v. McQueen are speculated.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90981©1994 AAPG Pacific Section Meeting, Ventura, California, April 27-29, 1994