The Supreme Court has agreed to decide if a state law widely used to pursue polluters for cleanup costs creates strict liability for all damages arising from the contamination, whether or not a causal link to the original leak can be shown.

The Spill Compensation and Control Act, enacted in 1976, says that a person who discharges a hazardous substance is “strictly liable, jointly and severally, without regard to fault,” for all cleanup and removal costs. It is analogous to the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act but has been interpreted more liberally by New Jersey courts.

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