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Aurora Nat'l Bank v. Tri Star Mktg.

ELR Citation: 27 ELR 20926
Nos. 96 C 4175, 955 F. Supp. 894/(N.D. Ill., 01/07/1997)

The court holds that a trustee and beneficial owners of contaminated land formerly used as a gasoline station may sue past site operators under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The court rejects the operators' argument that the court lacks jurisdiction because Illinois' leaking underground storage tank (UST) program displaces federal law. RCRA §9003b(h)(7)(A) adopts the state program and permits Illinois to enforce its plan as surrogate federal law. The court then dismisses plaintiffs' §7002(a)(1)(A) claim against a former sublessee of the site because the sublessee does not fit within the statutory definition of owner or operator. The sublessee ceased operations before RCRA's UST amendments became effective and its USTs have long since been removed. The court, however, refuses to dismiss plaintiffs' §7002(a)(1)(B) claim against the sublessee. Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that the sublessee was the owner and operator of USTs and that it contributed to the past storage of a hazardous waste that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Stephen D. Sharp
221 N. La Salle St., Chicago IL 60601
(312) 357-0044

Counsel for Defendant
Richard L. Reinish
Keck, Mahin & Cate
77 W. Wacker Dr., Ste. 4900, Chicago IL 60601
(312) 634-7700