Raritan Baykeeper v. NL Indus., Inc., No. 10-2591 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
From the 1930s until 1982, NL manufactured pigments on 440 acres surrounded by the Raritan River. NL later leased to manufacturers of sulfuric acid, until 2005, when a redevelopment agency acquired the site by eminent domain. NL had entered into an administrative consent order with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, requiring NL to investigate and perform remediation. The state had identified other sources of contamination and suggested a regional approach, but no action was taken. The redevelopment agreement provided that NL would retain liability for contamination of river sediments, but does not call for any remediation. In 2009, the U.S. EPA ordered remediation of river sediments upstream from the site. Shortly thereafter, plaintiffs filed citizens suits under RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6972(a)(1)(B), and CWA, 33 U.S.C. 1365(a)(1). The district court dismissed, concluding that abstention was appropriate. The Third Circuit vacated, noting that the state has not taken action with respect to the contamination.