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UNITED STATES v. CHROMATEX

September 30, 1993

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff
v.
CHROMATEX, INC., et al., Defendants; CHROMATEX, INC., et al., Third-Party Plaintiff, v. CONTINENTAL WHITE CAP, INC., Third-Party Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES F. MCCLURE, JR.

 September 30, 1993

 BACKGROUND:

 Plaintiff United States of America seeks to recover removal costs incurred as the result of a clean-up of a site consisting of 6.9 acres, located in Hazle Township and West Hazleton Borough, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The site was owned by defendant The Valmont Group and leased by defendant Chromatex, Inc. Chromatex operated a textile manufacturing plant at the site. In its operations, Chromatex used trichloroethylene ("TCE"). The Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") began a removal action at the site because TCE had been "released" into the environment. The removal action lasted into 1988; the exact date it ended is the subject of the instant motions.

 Before the court is a motion for partial summary judgment as to the liability of defendants filed by plaintiff, and a cross-motion for summary judgment filed by defendants.

 DISCUSSION:

 The parties' briefs indicate that, defendants having conceded that plaintiff can establish a prima facie case, the sole issue to be resolved regarding this motion is the date upon which the statute of limitations began to run. The complaint having been filed on October 30, 1991, and a three-year statute of limitations applying, see 42 U.S.C. ยง 9613(g), plaintiff must have taken some action as part of its removal action after October 30, 1988, or the statute of limitations would be a bar to plaintiff's recovery.

 The statute of limitations which applies to this action provides as follows:

 
(g) Period in which action may be brought
 
. . .
 
(2) Actions for recovery of costs
 
An initial action for recovery of the costs referred to in section 9607 of this title must be commenced--
 
(A) for a removal action, within 3 years after completion of the ...

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