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Placer Mining Co. v. United States

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20198
Nos. No. 01-27, (Fed. Cl. , 05/25/2011)

The Federal Claims court denied a mining company's motion and the government's cross-motion for summary judgment in a Fifth Amendment takings claim stemming from various CERCLA remediation actions taken at the mine. The company argued that the government effectively denied access to parts of the mine, and the government countered that the remedial construction project was not a taking since the company had no right to maintain its property in a manner causing a public health hazard. The nuisance exception might justify the government's entry onto the mine's land and all necessary remediation efforts. The company, however, is not challenging the remediation work itself but is alleging that the work has effectively denied its access to the mine. The company's property interest in the use of its property as a commercial mining operation—a use that is distinct from the conditions that prompted the CERCLA remediation work—is not susceptible to the government's nuisance defense. Because there are factual issues as to whether the government's physical invasion has taken the mine's interest in the use of its property by eliminating all feasible access to the property, the claim is not amenable to summary judgment.