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United States v. Federal Resources Corp.

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20075
Nos. No. 15-35192, (9th Cir., 05/25/2017)

The Ninth Circuit, in an unpublished opinion, held that the United States is not liable under CERCLA for hazardous waste contamination at a former mine site in Idaho. A district court held the owners of the site liable for EPA's and the U.S. Forest Service's cleanup costs at the site, and the owners appealed. The Ninth Circuit rejected the owners' argument that the U.S. government should be held liable under CERCLA as an arranger. Although the government had partially funded an exploration mining project at the site, it never entered into a contract with the intent of disposing of hazardous substances. The court also upheld the lower court's apportionment and divisibility of the clean-up costs. The owners failed to offer any evidence showing the amount of contamination their waste material contributed to the mine site as compared to the amount of contamination other PRPs contributed. Nor was the removal action taken at the site inconsistent with the NCP.