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Carlson v. Ameren Corp.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20074
Nos. No. 10-01230, (C.D. Ill., 01/21/2011)

A district court held that the owners of contaminated property may be held liable under RCRA for obstructing the former owner's ability to clean up the site. After purchasing the property from a power company, the owners filed suit against the power company under RCRA. The company then filed a counterclaim, asserting that the current owners contributed to the hazardous waste condition on the property because "they knew of the byproducts and constituents and have actively obstructed the remediation process." Specifically, the company maintained that the byproducts and constituents are leaching into the land and, by not allowing the company access to the property, the owners are actively permitting the hazardous material further degrade the land. While knowledge is certainly not an affirmative action, obstruction may be construed as active storage of materials. The owners prevented the company from accessing and repairing the land. Furthermore, as a result of their affirmative action in obstructing the repair of the land, the owners are allegedly permitting the continued leaching of hazardous material into the land. As a result, the owners may be said to be actively contributing to the condition of the property. The owners' motion to dismiss was therefore denied.