Eighth Circuit Holds Neighboring Property Owners Lacked Constitutional Standing to Challenge Amended Consent Decree in Chemical Plant Remediation
Before neighboring property owners can intervene to challenge a consent decree in a remediation action, they must establish Article III standing. On August 5, 2022, The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the ruling of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota and held that neighboring property owners of a chemical plant undergoing environmental remediation lacked constitutional standing to intervene to oppose an amended consent decree and remedial action plan. United States v. Reilly Tar & Chem. Corp., Slip Op. No. 20-2786 (8th Cir. Aug. 5, 2022). The court reasoned that the entry of the amended consent decree was not a causal link of the proposed intervenors’ harm because it did not require the chemical plant to clean-up chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) and perchloroethylene (PCE) and therefore did not alter the chemical plant’s preexisting duties regarding PCE. Id.
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