Toppling one of its own precedents, a 10-judge en banc panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the right to recover costs it incurs in supervising the cleanup of a hazardous waste site even if the cleanup is conducted entirely by responsible private parties.

In its 78-page opinion in United States v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., the 3rd Circuit voted 8-2 to overturn its 1993 decision in United States v. Rohm & Haas Co., which held that the government cannot recover “removal action” oversight costs incurred while supervising a private party cleanup.

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