OCTOBER TERM, 2019
NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
ATLANTIC RICHFIELD CO. v. CHRISTIAN ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF MONTANA
No. 17–1498. Argued December 3, 2019—Decided April 20, 2020
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Lia-
bility Act, 42 U. S. C. §9601 et seq., also known as the Superfund stat-
ute, promotes “the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and [en-
sures] that the costs of such cleanup efforts [are] borne by those
responsible for the contamination,” CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, 573
U. S. 1, 4 (internal quotation marks omitted). The Act directs the En-
vironmental Protection Agency to compile and annually revise a prior-
itized list of contaminated sites for cleanup, known as Superfund sites,
and makes responsible parties liable for the cost of the cleanup. Before
a cleanup plan is selected, a remedial investigation and feasibility
study is conducted to assess the contamination and evaluate cleanup
options. Once that study begins, §122(e)(6) of the Act provides, “no
potentially responsible party may undertake any remedial action” at
the site without EPA approval. To insulate cleanup plans from collat-
eral attack, §113(b) provides federal district courts with “exclusive
original jurisdiction over all controversies arising under” the Act, and
§113(h) then strips those courts of jurisdiction “to review any chal-
lenges to removal or remedial action,” except in five limited circum-
For nearly a century, the Anaconda Copper Smelter in Butte, Mon-