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United States v. Akzo Coatings of America, Inc.

949 F.2d 1409 (1991)

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United States v. Akzo Coatings of America, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

949 F.2d 1409 (1991)

Facts

In 1988, the Environmental Protection Agency (plaintiff) entered into a consent decree with Akzo Coatings of America, Inc., and eleven other potentially responsible parties (the PRPs) (defendants) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The consent decree required the PRPs to engage in remedial work to clean up a hazardous waste site in Rose Township, Michigan (Rose Site). The remedial plan proposed by the consent decree called for the excavation and incineration of surface soil contaminated with toxic materials and the flushing of subsurface soils contaminated with a variety of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds. The state of Michigan (defendant) appealed the entry of the consent decree, arguing that the proposed remedy was not in accordance with the state’s applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements (ARARs). The district court found that the Michigan Water Resources Commission Act and its corresponding agency rules (Michigan’s anti-degradation law) qualified as a state ARAR. Michigan’s anti-degradation law made it unlawful for any persons to directly or indirectly discharge into state waters any substances that are or may become injurious to public health or other water uses. The district court found that the consent decree complied with Michigan’s anti-degradation law and entered the consent decree. The state of Michigan appealed. The PRPs cross-appealed, arguing that Michigan’s anti-degradation law was not an ARAR.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Engel, J.)

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