Superfund, Montanans’ Cleanup Demands Clash at Supreme Court

December 2, 2019Media Mention
Bloomberg Environment

Atlantic Richfield Co. and a group of Montana landowners go head to head at the Supreme Court this week in a case that could shake up the EPA’s nearly 40-year-old flagship toxic waste cleanup program.

About 100 landowners in Opportunity, Mont., say Atlantic Richfield Co. is responsible for continuing to remove lead and arsenic deposited on their properties through decades of copper smelting operations.

The company and the Environmental Protection Agency have spent more than three decades cleaning up the 300-square-mile Anaconda Co. Smelter Superfund site, but the landowners say harmful amounts of heavy metals remain. They went to state court to force Atlantic Richfield to pay for additional cleanup work.

The justices are going to be “very concerned about what a party gets when it agrees to a cleanup with the EPA,” said Noah Perch-Ahern, partner at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP in Los Angeles.