When One Door Closes, Another One Opens: Supreme Court Ruling Restricts Challenges to CERCLA Cleanup but Could Expand State Law Claims [July 9, 2020]   [open pdf - 635KB]

From the Document: "The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as CERCLA or Superfund, places limits on how parties may challenge the scope of a plan to remediate hazardous waste contamination. On April 20, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in 'Atlantic Richfield v. Christian' that owners of property located within a Superfund site may not pursue restoration of their property in a manner that conflicts with a plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) without EPA's approval. The 'Atlantic Richfield' decision also addressed complicated questions regarding the jurisdiction of federal and state courts, holding that litigants can, subject to certain limitations, assert state-law claims that challenge an EPA-approved CERCLA cleanup plan in state courts. This Sidebar explains CERCLA's framework for developing and seeking review of cleanup plans, discusses the Atlantic Richfield decision, and considers the implications of the decision. As discussed below, the majority's decision may result in an increase in state-court litigation regarding Superfund sites, particularly in the early stages of the cleanup planning process. It may also complicate the settlement negotiation process for EPA and parties that are liable for response costs at Superfund sites."

Report Number:
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10513
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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