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Interfaith Community Org. v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc.

Citation: 32 ELR 20561
No. No. 95-2097 (DMC), 188 F. Supp. 2d 486/(D.N.J., 03/12/2002) summary judgment

The court holds that an association of churches has standing to bring a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) citizen suit against the owner of a site contaminated with chromium, but that issues of imminent and substantial endangerment prevent granting the association summary judgment on the issue of the owner's RCRA liability. The association alleged that the owner failed to properly and timely clean up chromium waste at the site, and, thus, brought a RCRA citizen suit seeking cleanup. The court first holds that the association has associational standing. All of the association's members presented sufficient facts to show that they suffered an actual injury sufficient to satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement. Further, the injuries alleged by the association and its members were fairly traceable to the owner's failure to clean up the site. Likewise, an adequate cleanup of the site would satisfy the redressability prong of standing. Further, the interests at stake in the litigation are germane to the association's organizational purpose of improving the quality of life in the county and in building affordable housing on areas such as the 32-acre site. The association's suit also does not require the participation of individual association members because the association seeks cleanup of the site, not individual relief. However, the court next holds that it cannot grant summary judgment to the association on the issue of the owner's RCRA liability. Although chromium is a hazardous waste and the owner has contributed to its storage, transport, or disposal, issues exist as to the imminent and substantial endangerment that the chromium poses to the health of the surrounding county. These issues are questions of fact that must be addressed at trial.

[A prior decision in this litigation is published at 26 ELR 21551.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Bruce J. Terris
Terris, Pravlik & Millian
1121 12th St. NW, Washington DC 20005
(202) 682-2100

Counsel for Defendants
Jeffrey B. Gracer
Lowenstein, Sandler, Kohl, Fisher & Boylan
65 Livingston Ave., Roseland NJ 07068
(201) 992-8700

Cavanaugh, J.