Even the best factual cases are no match for the principle of federal preemption, as residents of Camillus, New York learned the hard way.
The federal Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit recently denied three environmental groups' motion to intervene in a lawsuit between the District of Columbia ("District") and Potomac Electric Power Company and Pepco Energy Services, Inc. (collectively, "Pepco"), which concerned a consent decree under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA") entered into between the District and Pepco. See District of Columbia v. Potomac Electric Power Co., Civ. No. 11-00282. (D.D.C. Dec. 1, 2011).
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey could not abstain from hearing a citizen suit case brought under both the federal Clean Water Act and the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and which sought an injunction requiring the defendant to clean up the Raritan River.
On June 6, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States ended a decade of litigation when it denied a writ of certiorari (i.e., refused to review) a 2010 decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal which affirmed the trial court's decision deny General Electric's ("GE") attack on the constitutionality of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ("EPA") authority to issue Unilateral Administrative Orders ("UAOs") under section 106 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA").