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Bartlett v. Honeywell International Inc.

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20088
Nos. 17-1907, (2d Cir., 05/25/2018)

The Second Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that CERCLA preempts state tort law claims brought by residents living near the Onondaga Lake Superfund site. The owner of the site undertook remedial action pursuant to a federal consent decree. The residents argued, on a state tort law theory, that the owner should have departed from the consent decree's terms by conducting additional or different remedial action than that mandated by CERCLA and the consent decree. But this amounts to nothing more than a belated challenge to the adequacy of the consent decree itself. The residents also alleged the owner was negligent in failing to conduct additional bench-scale tests. But again, CERCLA preempts the residents' attempts to impose state tort law liability on the owner for not going above and beyond a testing regime that EPA itself described as “extensive.”