South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Superfund Remedies May Not Be Challenged in Federal Court Until Completed
Description Appeals court held that by statute, once the EPA has finalized plans for remediation of a Superfund site, there may be no challenges to the plan based on statutory or constitutional claims until after the remediation is complete.
Topic Environmental Law
Key Words Superfund, Remediation, Challenges, Jurisdiction
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts From 1954 to 1978, the City of Fort Lauderdale ran the Wingate landfill. Contaminated with arsenic and dioxin, the EPA placed the site on the National Priority List for cleanup in 1989. Seven years later, the EPA issued a remediation plan for the Superfund site. The state of Florida criticized the cleanup as not adequate, but the EPA rejected those assertions. Various groups then sued the EPA contending that the cleanup was inadequate to protect human health, which the plaintiffs claim, violate the law and the Constitution. The district court dismissed the suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs appealed.

Affirmed. Suits by residents living near a Superfund site is a challenge to an EPA-approved remediation and is barred by statute prior to completion of the plan. Even if the challenge claims that the remediation plan violates the Superfund law, suit is barred as it interferes with implementation of the remedy. Similarly, the law prohibits challenges to remedies based on constitutional claims. Hence, federal courts have no jurisdiction to hear such suits until the remedy is completed.

Citation Broward Gardens Tenants Assn. v. U.S. EPA, 2002 WL 31455516 (--- F.3d ---, 11th Cir., 2002)

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