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State ex rel. Koster v. Republic Services, Inc.

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20083
Nos. 4:15CV1506, (E.D. Mo., 04/26/2016) (White, J.)

A district court granted Missouri's remand request to litigate in state court its lawsuit against the owner and operator of a landfill in connection with an uncontrolled, underground trash fire at the site. The state alleged various state law violations, along with claims for nuisance, cost recovery, and natural resource damages, and sought monetary and injunctive relief. The landfill is part of a larger Superfund site, and the operator removed the case to federal court on the grounds that the state was raising issues over which EPA has exclusive jurisdiction under CERCLA. Yet, nothing in the complaint or in the expert reports demonstrates that the state is making a CERCLA challenge by requesting relief that would interfere with EPA's remediation plans. The court, therefore, granted the state's remand request. But because the owner's basis for removal was not objectively unreasonable, the court denied the state's request for an award of attorney fees and costs.