The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected General Electric’s challenge to part of a federal law that gives the Environmental Protection Agency the power to order companies to clean up hazardous waste. The Justices let stand a federal appeals court ruling that upheld a provision of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, known as the Superfund Act. The intent of this Act was to make sure polluters pay for environmental hazards they created.
Under the Superfund Act, EPA has the power to issue unilateral orders directing companies to clean up hazardous waste for which they are responsible if the sites pose an imminent and substantial threat to public safety. First, a district court judge, and then an appeals court, rejected GE’s challenge to the law. In its appeal to the Supreme Court, GE claimed the cleanup orders violated constitutional due-process rights and impermissibly coerced compliance.
The U.S. Department of Justice opposed GE’s appeal. It said the law provided sufficient procedural safeguards and companies that refuse to comply with an order can get a federal court hearing. Interestingly, the Supreme Court refused to hear GE’s appeal without comment. That usually means the losing side’s position was totally without merit.
Source: Insurance Journal
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