B&D Principal Dave Weber Quoted in Inside EPA Regarding Guam v. United States

Inside EPA

Dave Weber (Office Managing Principal, Seattle) was quoted in Inside EPA's article, “High Court Case Might Clarify Superfund Contribution, Limitations Statute,” regarding the Supreme Court’s review of Territory of Guam v. United States, No. 20-382.

“I expect that the Court will take the opportunity to provide much-needed clarity on when a prior settlement under a law other than CERCLA” -- in this case under the Clean Water Act (CWA) -- “resolves liability under CERCLA,” Dave comments. “However, based on the Court’s recent Superfund decisions, it is unlikely that it will rely on CERCLA’s ‘remedial purpose’ or other policy considerations to provide Guam relief or address any perceived inequities.”

The briefs filed in the case, he says, are “set against a backdrop of CERCLA jurisprudence in which the Court is focused principally on interpreting CERCLA’s ‘plain meaning,’ derived from an ordinary understanding of the statutory text.” He goes on to explain the significance of CERCLA section 113(f)(3)(B) in the context of the suit. The section authorizes parties to pursue financial contribution for cleanup costs from other parties after it “has ‘resolved its liability to the United States or a State for some or all of a response action or for some or all of the costs of such action in an administrative or judicially approved settlement.’” The United States, he points out, defines the term “response action” to include actions taken under other laws, besides CERCLA. Guam argues otherwise.

Dave suggests that justices may press Guam attorneys “to reconcile how [Guam] may maintain its CERCLA cost recovery lawsuit against the United States where it is seeking recovery of the very same response costs it now claims cannot form the basis of a settlement under CERCLA Section 113(f)(3)(B).”

For further background and analysis on Guam v. United States, see "Supreme Court to Decide Superfund Case with Significant Implications Regarding the Timing of CERCLA Contribution Claims" and “B&D Principal David Weber Quoted by Inside EPA on Guam v. United States Superfund Case.”