PPG Industries Inc. v. US

PPG Industies filed suit under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act against the Department of Commerce and other federal agencies seeking contribution to cleanup of hazardous waste. PPG insisted that, because the government during WWI and WWII was involved in strategizing ways to maximize the plant in question’s output, it became a “past operator”. The 3rd Circuit agreed with PPG Industries that US v. Bestfoods, 524 U.S. 51 (1998) did not distinguish between government and private actors in determining who may be a “past operator”. Nonetheless, the government’s involvement still did not rise to the legal threshold of “past operator”. The District Court’s grant of the government’s summary judgment motion was affirmed.

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