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Reeger v. Mill Serv., Inc.

Citation: 14 ELR 20900
No. No. 84-1418, 593 F. Supp. 360/21 ERC 2165/(W.D. Pa., 09/12/1984) Ruling on private liability

The court holds that a citizen suit brought under the Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) against the operator of a hazardous waste disposal facility in Pennsylvania is barred by plaintiffs' failure to give 60-days notice to defendants; a Fedeal Civil Rights Act claim is superseded by the comprehensive enforcement scheme under the Clean Air Act, FWPCA, and RCRA; and a federal common law claim is preempted by the Clean Air Act. The court strictly construes the statutory notice requirement in the citizen suit provisions of the federal environmental statutes; although plaintiffs allege to have made oral complaints to the government enforcement agencies, the court nevertheless bars the action. The court then holds that the existence of the express citizen suit remedies in the Clean Air Act, FWPCA, and RCRA and plaintiffs' failure to pursue existing state remedies preclude their claims under the Civil Rights Act. Next, the court holds that the comprehensive scope of the Clean Air Act preempts a federal common law claim. Also, the court rejects an independent due process claim for environmental protection. Finally, the court dismisses pendent state claims for lack of jurisdiction.

[Another opinion in the case appears at 14 ELR 20899.]

Counsel are listed at 14 ELR 20899.