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Raritan Baykeeper v. NL Industries, Inc.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20308
Nos. 10-2591, (3d Cir., 10/03/2011)

The Third Circuit vacated a lower court decision dismissing, on grounds of abstention, environmental groups' RCRA and CWA citizens suit in which they sought an injunction requiring the current and prior owners of a contaminated site to remediate contaminated sediments in the Raritan River. The groups' suit does not amount to a "collateral attack" on a state agency decision, nor does it seek a remedy that necessarily conflicts with any agency order. Accordingly, this is not one of those exceptional cases that calls for primary jurisdiction abstention. Nor does the Burford doctrine call for abstention in this case. The groups cannot obtain adequate and timely state court review of its claims since New Jersey's Environmental Rights Act does not authorize a state court action to enforce rights under RCRA and the CWA.