In this article, originally published by Bloomberg Law – Environment, Hangley Aronchick environmental attorney Peter Keays shares his insights on the US Supreme Court’s recently issued opinion in Atlantic Richfield v. Christian, a closely-watched Superfund case.

The Court ruled that a group of individual landowners on a 300 square mile Superfund site in Montana may proceed with state law claims for damages to implement a restoration plan that goes beyond the remedy that EPA selected and Atlantic Richfield has been implementing.

The landowners’ victory may prove to be nominal, however, as the Court also ruled that the relief they seek cannot be awarded unless EPA approves of their restoration plan, which EPA has actively opposed.

Although it is uncertain what practical impact the Court’s somewhat puzzling opinion will have beyond this idiosyncratic case, Atlantic Richfield does have significant implications for landowner rights, EPA’s authority, and the role of state law claims and state courts in the Superfund realm.

Read the article