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Charter Township of Lansing v. Lansing Board of Water and Light

Citation: 47 ELR 20009
No. 1:14-cv-514, (W.D. Mich., 01/06/2017) (Neff, J.)

A district court denied a state water and power board's motion to dismiss a CERCLA suit brought by two goverment entities for costs related to a drain project in Lansing, Michigan. The government entities sued the board for the increase in costs assessed for the building of a storm drain in a district that encompassed a landfill owned by the board. The entities contended that the increase in costs is attributable to releases, and threat of releases, from the board's construction of a slurry wall on the site. The district court disagreed with the board's contention that the government entities had not incurred "necessary response costs" as defined by CERCLA and that they were seeking future costs. The court found that CERCLA defines "response" loosely and courts have come to varying conclusions about what is a "response." Since the entities had been assessed costs for building the drain system, and the system is "necessary," the claim can proceed.