Environmental -- 2014

Babb v. Lee County Landfill SC, LLC   (D.S. Car.)

Whether common law nuisance claim is preempted by EPA regulation of air emissions

Landowners near a county landfill in South Carolina sued the landfill claiming that odors from the area caused them damage. The landfill argued that the law suit should be dismissed, because emissions from waste disposal facilities are regulated by Clean Air Act permitting requirements.

The NAM and the National Waste & Recycling Association filed an amicus brief supporting this argument. Congress adopted a comprehensive regulatory process that allows federal and state regulators to set emissions requirements for major stationary sources of pollutants, and the facility at issue in this case is so regulated. Court orders that set different emissions requirements would conflict with the Clean Air Act's system, but would also dramatically alter the cooperative federal-state framework established by Congress to address air quality issues. Different court rulings around the country would create a patchwork of standards under the common law of each state, and regulated entities would face a daunting challenge of predicting what standards their facilities must meet. Instead, we argued, the court should find that this kind of state nuisance claim is preempted by the Clean Air Act.

This is another example of a law suit that attempts to use state common law claims to impose more and different air emission requirements on manufacturers or other facility operators already subject to state and federal regulation under the Clean Air Act. The NAM filed a brief in a similar case in 2013 involving emissions from a plant in Iowa.

The case was

Related Documents:
NAM amicus brief  (January 31, 2014)


© 2019 National Association of Manufacturers