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United States v. Doe Run Resources Corp.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20188
Nos. No. 4:10CV01895, (E.D. Mo., 05/10/2011)

A district court held that a property owner that filed a RCRA, CAA, and CWA citizen suit against a mine may not intervene in the United States' and Missouri's enforcement action against the same mine for the same violations. Because the owner was concerned that several issues in its pending lawsuit would be mooted by the proposed entry of a consent decree between the mine and the government, it filed a motion to intervene. But it is not a foregone conclusion that the court will enter the consent decree in the case. As such, the owner's citizen suit has not been displaced by government action. The consent decree must be reviewed and approved by the court. Thus, it is mere speculation that the claims in the owner's litigation may becoming moot because of the consent decree. In addition, the owner is not entitled to its “day in court” if its claims are duplicative of government action. The owner has already filed its citizen suit and had several years to pursue that end. If the government is able to protect the environment through its lawsuit, then the owner's RCRA, CWA and CAA claims are not needed to fill a void and properly are dismissed in this action.