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Union Petroleum Corp. v. United States

ELR Citation: 11 ELR 20755
Nos. No. 144-76, 651 F.2d 734/16 ERC 1339/(Ct. Cl., 06/03/1981)

The United States Court of Claims affirms the trial judge's decision and holds that plaintiff is entitled to reimbursement under §311(i)(1) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act for costs incurred in cleaning up an oil spill from plaintiff's property caused by unknown third parties. The court also dismisses defendant's counterclaim for costs incurred in completing the cleanup. The spill occurred when vandals entered plaintiff's property and opened valves on railroad tank cars recently loaded with oil from plaintiff's facility. The court finds that the discharge was not preventable and that plaintiff had taken every reasonable measure to prevent and clean up the spill. The court concludes, therefore, that plaintiff has proved all of the required elements under §311(i)(1) and is entitled to reimbursement for its cleanup costs.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Robert C. Gerrard, Carolyn Thayer Ross
Bowker, Elmes, Perkins, Mescas & Gerrard
One Federal St., Boston MA 02110
(617) 426-8900

Counsel for Defendant
Nancy J. Marvel; Carol E. Dinkins, Ass't Attorney General; Anthony C. Liotta, Erica L. Dolgin
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-3140

Before FRIEDMAN, Chief Judge, NICHOLS and KASHIWA, Judges.