US Court Rejects GE Argument that Superfund is Unconstitutional

Date: June 29, 2010

Source: News Room

A US appeals court has rejected a legal challenge by General Electric Company (GE) to US EPA orders directing it to clean up hazardous waste. GE had argued that EPA's application of Superfund law governing the cleanup of hazardous waste sites is unconstitutional. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington sided with a lower court, rejecting the company's argument that the agency violated its due process rights under the U.S. Constitution. At issue, is a provision of Superfund law that denied the company a hearing in court to challenge the government's claims. The lawsuit was filed in 2000 before the company agreed to clean up a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River polluted with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). GE had argued that the mere issuance of an order could inflict immediate, serious, and irreparable damage by depressing a company's stock price and increasing its cost of financing. But the court rejected that argument saying "Such 'consequential' injuries -- injuries resulting not from EPA's issuance of the" order "but from market reactions to it -- are insufficient to merit" constitutional due process protection, Judge David Tatel wrote in the ruling. The case is General Electric Co. v. Jackson, 09-5092.

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