Supreme Court won't hear Colville Superfund case

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied review of a Superfund case filed by members of the Confederated Colville Tribes of Washington.

A Canadian company is refusing to take responsibility for polluting the Columbia River. Tribal members depend on the river for water, fish and economic development.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Teck Cominco Metals of British Columbia, Canada, could be held liable under the federal Superfund law. The company appealed but the high court justices, without comment, rejected the petition.

"We are of course very pleased with this decision," said Virgil Seymour, a member of the Colville Business Council. "As the case now stands, the courts have ruled that the U.S. has jurisdiction over Teck Cominco under the United States' Superfund law for the pollution it created in the U.S."

The case was filed by Joseph Pakootas, a former tribal chairman, and Donald Michel, a former business council member.

Get the Story:
Top U.S. Court Won't Shield Foreigners From Pollution Suits (Bloomberg News 1/7)
Press Release: U.S. Supreme Court Supports Colville Tribes (Colville Tribes 1/7)

Relevant Documents:
DOJ Brief | Other Briefs | Docket Sheet: No. 06-1188 | Order List

9th Circuit Decision:
Pakootas v. Teck Cominco (July 3, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Colville Confederated Tribes -
Teck Cominco -
NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project -

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