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PPG Industries Inc. v. United States

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20112
Nos. 19-1165, (3d C.r, 05/04/2020)

The Third Circuit affirmed a district court ruling that the U.S. government was not liable to a coatings company for cleanup costs at a chromite ore processing plant with which it was involved during World War I and World War II. The district court concluded the government was not subject to operator liability under CERCLA because its actions in relation to the plant were consistent with general wartime influence over an industry and did not extend to control over the plant's pollution-related activities. The appellate court agreed, finding no evidence the government directly managed, directed, or conducted the plant's operations specifically related to pollution, and thus that the district court correctly found that it did not exercise sufficient control over pollution-related operations at the plant at the time hazardous substances were released to be liable as a past operator. It therefore affirmed denial of the company's motion for summary judgment and granted the government's motion for summary judgment.