Interfaith Community Organization v. Honeywell International, Inc.

399 F.3d 248 (2005)

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Interfaith Community Organization v. Honeywell International, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
399 F.3d 248 (2005)

Facts

A predecessor of Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell) (defendant) created a waste pile of residue from a chromate chemical plant. The waste pile consisted of 1,500,000 tons of toxic waste over 34 acres with a considerable amount of hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen and environmental toxin that is highly water-soluble. Dumping continued for around 60 years, and the site was never cleaned up. More than 30 years later, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ordered Honeywell to take measures to remedy the site. Honeywell implemented interim measures intended to last five years, giving it time to study a permanent plan. Following litigation over the site, Honeywell was ordered to implement a permanent containment solution, but it never took steps to do so. The Interfaith Community Organization (ICO) (plaintiff) sued seeking an order requiring Honeywell to clean up the dump site. Honeywell did not contest the fact that chromium constituted hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and that it was responsible for the dump site. Honeywell also admitted that hexavalent chromium was going into a nearby river through surface-water runoff and that the interim measures were not sufficient to prevent chromium residue from leaving the site. The district court found for the ICO and ordered Honeywell to remove all the contaminated waste from the site. Honeywell appealed, arguing, among other things, that the order to evacuate all contaminated waste was not an appropriate or reasonable solution and that it usurped the power of the regulatory agencies.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Van Antwerpen, J.)

Concurrence (Ambro, J.)

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