Court Allows RCRA Claim for Historic Petroleum Contamination

August 16, 2007
by JOHN GULLACE
Client Alert Newsletter August 2007

On June 20, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denied a motion to dismiss a plaintiff's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA") citizen suit seeking injunctive relief to abate petroleum contamination potentially present for thirty years. In K-7 Enterprises v. Jester, the court noted that even though no one uses the contaminated groundwater, the contamination is still above state action levels and therefore may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment. The court went on to explain that "[e]ven if the impact of the contamination may not be felt until later, the threat is present now. As such, based upon . . . contaminants in the groundwater . . . [above] the recommended allowable limits, the court will deny [the motion] on this ground."