Definition Of 'Disposal' Limits CERCLA's Applicability

Law360, New York (October 21, 2016, 11:36 AM EDT) -- Joshua L. Milrad

Minning Yu The applicability of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to environmental contamination or threatened contamination has consistently turned on the court’s interpretation of “disposal” in conjunction with the manner in which the contamination occurred. Indeed, several decades ago, the Second, Third, and Sixth Circuits concurred that if the contamination occurred passively over time without any evidence of human interaction, the contamination is not a “disposal” and CERCLA does not apply.

Then, in July 2016, the Ninth Circuit decided in Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13662 (9th Cir. 2016),...

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