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Ridgefield, Borough of v. New York Susquehanna & W. R.R.

Citation: 17 ELR 20415
No. No. 86-5330, 810 F.2d 57/25 ERC 1548/(3d Cir., 01/29/1987)

The court rules that the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA) does not provide an implied private cause of action. Pursuant to the HMTA, the Secretary of Transportation published a table listing butane as a hazardous material and promulgated regulations requiring permanent storage tanks for hazardous liquid gases such as butane. Two municipalities filed a complaint against a railroad under the HMTA alleging that the railroad's storage of butane on a rail siding until it transferred the butane into tank trucks violates the regulation. The court holds that there is no private cause of action under the HMTA. Neither the statute nor its legislative history describes municipalities such as plaintiffs as special beneficiaries of the HMTA's protection. Alternative remedies provided in the HMTA reflect congressional intent not to allow an implied private cause of action, and the legislative history indicates a decision not to include a citizen enforcement provision in the Act.

Counsel for Appellant
Martin T. Durkin
Durkin & Boggia
245 Main St., Ridgefield Park NJ 07660
(201) 641-0006

Michael L. Scherby, Andrew T. Fede
Conant, Conant, Schuber, Scherby & Atkins
33 Hudson St., Hackensack NJ 07601
(201) 342-1070

Counsel for Appellee
Paul R. DeFilippo, Michael F. Quinn
Crummy, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione
One Gateway Ctr., Newark NJ 07102
(201) 622-2235

Before Sloviter and Green, JJ.