The Supreme Court’s recent Superfund decision may have a significant impact on future cleanups

As Dan has noted, on Monday the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in a widely-watched case interpreting CERCLA, the Superfund law.  (Dan posted some brief thoughts about the opinion, BURLINGTON NORTHERN & SANTA FE RAILWAY.  CO V. UNITED STATES.)  Dan says that the part of the opinion dealing with apportionment of liability “does not purport to establish any new principles but does …


The Ninth Circuit: 0-for-the Supreme Court Term

It’s been a very rough U.S. Supreme Court Term for the Ninth Circuit. Four of the five major environmental cases on the Supreme Court’s docket this year emanate from the Ninth Circuit. With the justices’ issuance of their major CERCLA decision in Burlington Northern this week, four of those environmental cases have now been resolved, …


A Supreme Court Speed-Bump for Coeur Alaska

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s issuance of its major CERCLA opinion yesterday in Burlington Northern, the Court has now decided four of the five major environmental cases on its docket this Term. But a little-noticed order from the Court–also issued yesterday–suggests that the Court is struggling mightily with the fifth and final case, Coeur Alaska, …


Supreme Court Narrows Hazardous Waste Liability

The Supreme Court decided an important Superfund case today, BURLINGTON NORTHERN & SANTA FE RAILWAY.  CO V. UNITED STATES.  The case narrowed a theory under which companies can be held liable for clean-up costs as “arrangers” of waste disposal. It also made it easier for lower courts to divide up liability between defendants, rather than …


Court ruling will force EPA to take action it was required to take in 1983 (!)

It is not unusual for the federal government to neglect its statutory duties under federal environmental laws; when it does, citizen suits are the primary means of ensuring that the government follows the law.  Sometimes federal agencies’ inaction results from lack of resources, and sometimes it results from intentionally interpreting its duties in a minimalist manner.  In some …