March 01, 2013

Neighborly RCRA Claims

John M. Barkett

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) citizen’s suits typically fall into two categories: current owners pursuing former owners or a citizen or public interest group formed to pursue the action. In a neighbor-versus-neighbor setting, trespass and nuisance are the typical claims, but RCRA claims are sometimes made. I focus on four illustrations of such actions here.

First, a quick refresher. Under 42 U.S.C. § 6972(a)(1)(B), RCRA allows a “citizen” to sue a person who (a) has contributed, or who is contributing (b) to the past or present handling, storage, treatment, transportation, or disposal of any solid or hazardous waste (c) which may present an imminent and substantial endangerment (ISE) to health or the environment.

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