Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Atlantic Richfield Co. in Superfund Case

April 2020

On April 20, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of firm client Atlantic Richfield Company, confirming the Company’s long-held position that Superfund site landowners cannot implement an alternative cleanup plan that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not approved. Atlantic Richfield had undertaken extensive efforts at the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site, in cooperation with EPA and the State of Montana and with community input, to develop a comprehensive remedy to protect the larger community from risks associated with the area’s legacy of 100 years of industrial activity. The Supreme Court held that Superfund site landowners qualified as "potentially responsible parties" under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and were thus required to obtain EPA approval for any alternative cleanup plan. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Roberts concluded that CERCLA’s provisions governing potentially responsible parties ensure "the careful development of a single EPA-led cleanup effort rather than tens of thousands of competing individual ones."

The team representing Atlantic Richfield Co. included Lisa Blatt, John Williams, Sarah Harris, Luke McCloud, Meng Jia Yang, and Thomas Chapman.

Click here to read coverage by Law360.

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