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Missouri v. Independent Petrochemical Corp.

Citation: 17 ELR 20958
No. No. 83-2670 C (2), (E.D. Mo., 12/15/1986) Motions to dismiss cross-claims & third-party defendants' motions denied

The court holds that the application of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to wholly intrastate hazardous waste disposal does not exceed Congress' power under the Commerce Clause and that CERCLA has not preempted the common law of nuisance. The court first rules that application of CERCLA to intrastate hazardous waste disposal does not violate the Commerce Clause, since Congress' finding that disposal of hazardous waste affects interstate commerce has a rational basis. The court next holds that Missouri law allows contribution among defendants whose joint negligence creates a public nuisance. The court holds that one defendant's impleader on the CERCLA count of two individual site operators is proper. Although the third-party defendants are not in the business of hazardous waste disposal and may not have known the soil they used as fill contained dioxin, liability under CERCLA is strict. The court also holds that the third-party defendants are the owners of a facility within the meaning of CERCLA § 101(9). Finally, the court holds that CERCLA has not preempted the common law of nuisance. A holding to the contrary would conflict with CERCLA § 114, which permits liability under state law, and the case law.

[Other opinions in this litigation appear at 15 ELR 20161; 16 ELR 20352; and 17 ELR 20241. Related opinions are published at 16 ELR 20361, 20368; and 17 ELR 21013.]

Counsel are listed at 17 ELR 20241.