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IN RE PAOLI R.R. YARD PCB LITIG.
April 29, 1992
In Re: PAOLI RAILROAD YARD PCB LITIGATION
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT F. KELLY
This action involves the remaining counterclaims and third-party claims asserted by Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority ("SEPTA") against the United States. SEPTA seeks contribution and indemnification from the government for the response costs incurred in the clean-up of the Paoli Rail Yard from polychlorinated biphenyl ("PCB") contamination under section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA"), 42 U.S.C. section 9607. Pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the United States filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to all remaining counterclaims and third-party claims asserted against it by SEPTA. For the reasons set forth below, the motion of the United States is granted.
CERCLA grants the government broad authority to provide for the clean-up of hazardous waste sites but places financial liability for the remedial clean-up costs on the parties responsible for the waste. Liability for such response costs is imposed on four categories of responsible parties under section 107(a)(1)-(4) of CERCLA:
(1) the owner and operator of a vessel or a facility,
(2) any person who at the time of disposal of any hazardous substance owned or operated any facility at which such hazardous substances were disposed of,
(3) any person who by contract, agreement, or otherwise arranged for disposal or treatment, or arranged with a transporter for transport or treatment, of hazardous substances owned or possessed by such person, by any other party or entity, at any facility or incineration vessel owned or operated by another party or entity and containing such hazardous substances, and
(4) any person who accepts or accepted any hazardous substances for transport to disposal or treatment facilities, incineration vessels or sites selected by such person, from which there is a release, or a threatened release which causes the incurrence of response costs, of a hazardous substance. . . .
42 U.S.C. § 9607 (a)(1)-(4).
Section 120 of CERCLA provides that "each department, agency, and instrumentality of the United States . . . shall be subject to, and comply with, this chapter in the same manner and to the same extent . . . as any nongovernmental entity, including liability under section  of this title." 42 U.S.C. § 9620(a)(1).
In 1986, the United States brought suit against SEPTA, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation ("AMTRAK"), and Consolidated Railroad Corporation ("CONRAIL") for claims arising under CERCLA and other federal environmental statutes in regard to the PCB contamination of the Paoli Rail Yard. SEPTA then filed counterclaims against the United States and parallel third-party complaints in the lawsuits filed against SEPTA by the individuals living near the yard and various employees of the yard. The United States filed a motion to dismiss SEPTA's counterclaims and third-party claims. This Court granted the motion to dismiss and permitted SEPTA to add Count IV to its complaint. Count IV alleges that:
1. The United States undertook certain response activities at or around the Paoli Railyard which resulted in the release or threat of release of a hazardous substance;
2. The United States is a "person" who is liable under Section 107(a) of CERCLA, ...
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