United States v. Sunoco, Inc.
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
501 F. Supp. 2d 641 (2007)
At different points in time, the Point Breeze oil refinery (Point Breeze) was owned by Atlantic Richfield Company and Sunoco, Inc. (defendants). Point Breeze was located several hundred feet away from a federal property that served as a military-supply depot (the military property). Beginning in the late 1980s, the United States (plaintiff) conducted several studies and investigations and discovered widespread petroleum contamination at the military property. In 1995, one study concluded that Point Breeze was the most likely source of the contamination. In the 2000s, the United States sued Atlantic Richfield and Sunoco under the Pennsylvania Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act (the Tank Act), among other statutes, alleging that the companies had polluted the military property. The Tank Act was the state’s comprehensive regulatory scheme over petroleum storage, and violations constituted public nuisances that could be enforced through legal action. The federal government had incurred $22 million in cleanup costs to date, and pollutants were allegedly continuing to migrate from Point Breeze to the military property. Through its suit, the United States sought to recover its cleanup costs and diminution in property value. The government moved for a ruling on the applicable statute of limitations and whether any claims were time-barred.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brody, J.)
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