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New Jersey Dep't of Envtl. Protection v. Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20189
Nos. No. 06-2612, (D.N.J., 07/05/2007)

A district court remanded to state court a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection lawsuit against a manufacturing company in which it seeks reimbursement of cleanup and removal costs and damages incurred at the Woodland Dump site. The agency filed suit under the New Jersey Spill Act and New Jersey common law for public nuisance and trespass. The manufacturer then removed the case to federal court, arguing that the case is preempted by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). But the agency's complaint does not raise a substantial federal question on its face, and the manufacturer has not demonstrated that CERCLA completely preempts the agency's state-law claims. Even though the agency could have brought its claims pursuant to CERCLA, it is appropriately seeking damages pursuant to state law as contemplated by Congress when it enacted CERCLA. The agency has not directly challenged the CERCLA remediation, and the interpretation of CERCLA is not essential to its claims. The court, therefore, lacks subject matter jurisdiction and remanded the case to state court.