United States v. Crown Roll Leaf, Inc.
Citation: 19 ELR 20262
No. No. 88-831, 29 ERC 2018/(D.N.J., 10/20/1988)
The court holds that defendant is liable under § 104(e) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and § 3007(a) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for failure to respond to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information request concerning the transportation of hazardous waste to four sites in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The court first holds that a telephone call from defendant's counsel did not satisfy RCRA § 3007(a) and CERCLA § 104(e). Although the language of the statutes does not require written submissions, EPA's information requests ask for written responses. No reasonable recipient of such a request would believe that a telephone call would be sufficient. Further, the call was made over eight months after EPA initially contacted defendant and only after EPA had issued an administrative order. The court holds that defendant's allegation that its violations were not willful is irrelevant, since violations of RCRA and CERCLA are subject to strict liability. The court holds that defendant is liable for the conduct of its predecessor corporation. The court holds that EPA's information request was not superfluous even though EPA possessed a New Jersey state manifest indicating that defendant's predecessor had sent hazardous waste to at least one of the sites, since EPA reasonably suspected that additional information existed about the nature of the wastes and the transactions involved.
Counsel for Plaintiff
Jerome L. Merin, Ass't U.S. Attorney
Office of the U.S. Attorney
970 Broad St., 5th Fl., Newark NJ 07102
Environmental Enforcement Section, Land and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 7611, Washington DC 20044
Counsel for Defendant
Joseph C. Nuzzo, Martin D. Katz
Nuzzo & Katz
468 Parish Dr., Wayne NJ 07470