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Covington v. Jefferson

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20015
Nos. Nos. 02-36000, -36035, (9th Cir., 02/05/2004)

The Ninth Circuit holds that a district court erred in holding that residents living across from a county dump lacked standing to bring Clean Air Act (CAA) claims based on ozone degradation against a county health department and in granting the county summary judgment on the residents' Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) claims concerning cover, open burning, explosive gases, and uncontrolled access. The court correctly held that the residents had standing for their RCRA claims but erred in holding that they lacked standing on their CAA claims. The residents' evidence of leakage of white goods is sufficient to show injury-in-fact; the county's failure to follow CAA procedure, which allowed chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting substances to be released in the landfill, demonstrates causation; and redressability is satisfied by the fines and penalties applicable for CAA violations. Although the district court properly granted summary judgment to the county on the residents' RCRA claim of underground water contamination, it erred in granting the county summary judgment on the residents' remaining RCRA claims. The court erroneously disregarded Idaho's cover and open burning regulations when analyzing whether there had been a violation of RCRA because the state regulations are no stricter than the federal RCRA requirements. The residents also presented sufficient evidence to withstand summary judgment on their claims that the county violated RCRA's cover, open burning, explosive gas, and open access requirements. Last, the district court erred when it ruled that RCRA §3004, which concerns standards applicable to owners and operators of hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, is merely an enabling statute, containing no substantive requirements.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Margaret B. Hinman
Pike & Smith
151 N. Ridge Ave., Ste. 210, Idaho Falls ID 83403
(208) 528-6444

Counsel for Defendants
Robin D. Dunn
Dunn & Clark
115 N. Clark St., Rigby ID 83442
(208) 745-9202