Ada-Cascade Watch Co. v. Cascade Resource Recovery, Inc.
Citation: 14 ELR 20016
No. Nos. 81-1253, -1327, 720 F.2d 897/19 ERC 2105/(6th Cir., 11/03/1983)
The court rules that whether a hazardous waste disposal facility had obtained all necessary state environmental permits to qualify for interim status under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is a question of state law that the federal district court should have abstained from hearing. The court finds that the question of appellees' qualification for interim status under RCRA turns entirely on interpretation of the Michigan Hazardous Waste Management Act (HWMA) and a regulation promulgated under the HWMA. The court rules that the case is an appropriate one for abstention under the doctrine of Burford v. Sun Oil Co., 319 U.S. 315 (1943). The Michigan hazardous waste statutes and regulations at issue constitute a complex state regulatory scheme that would be disrupted by federal court review, thus satisfying the first Burford test. The case also satisfies the second Burford test, because the state designated a special forum to hear cases under the HWMA. The court remands to the district court with instructions to dismiss on grounds of abstention.
A dissent would dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds and argues that it is not a proper one for abstention. It would rule that appellants' failure to satisfy the 60-day notice requirement of the RCRA citizen suit provision deprived them of jurisdiction. It further argues that the issues in the case involve federal law and are suitable for resolution in a federal court.
Counsel for Appellants
Peter W. Steketee
Steketee & Timmons
505 People's Bldg., 40 Monroe Ave., Grand Rapids MI 49503
Counsel for Appellees
Richard J. Quist
Quist, Tummino & Shape
333 Trust Bldg., Grand Rapids MI 49503
Before: KEITH and MERRITT, Circuit Judges, and TIMBERS,* Senior Circuit Judge.