In an 8-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on May 4 limited the legal reach of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, known as the Superfund law, in recovering cleanup costs from companies with possible links to pollution at sites. The high court said Shell Oil should not be held liable for contamination at an Arvin, Calif., site where it sold pesticides to a now-bankrupt chemical firm. Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said liability under the relevant section of the Superfund law “does not extend beyond the limits of the statute itself.”
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.