October 01, 2017

Border Wars: No Court for Claims between States?

Thomas J. Grever

It is Environmental Law 101: When one party causes environmental contamination that damages another party, the damaged party has a straightforward claim under several federal environmental laws to force the polluting party to clean up the problem and to reimburse the innocent party for costs it incurred addressing the contamination. Congress crafted remedial, strict-liability statutes such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to promote swift cleanups and to ensure that the “polluter pays” for costs incurred by others, leaving little room for the responsible party to avoid liability. Even states and the federal government can be held liable under the wide net these laws cast.

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