Tribe Sues Canadian Company Under U.S. Superfund Law

Washington state’s Colville Confederated Tribes announced a lawsuit this week against Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., seeking to force the smelter to comply with a U.S. EPA order to pay for environmental study of the pollution it has discharged into the Columbia River over the decades. Now, normally a put-upon local community suing a big polluting business would (sadly) not be big news, but this situation’s got a twist: Teck Cominco is located in British Columbia, Canada, making this the first time a foreign company has been sued under the U.S. Superfund law. The company offered the EPA $13 million to study the health and ecological dangers of the pollution — largely heavy metals — it’s discharged into Lake Roosevelt (via the Columbia). However, it’s refused to abide by Superfund standards and legal processes. It’s expected to argue that the U.S. court has no jurisdiction, despite the fact that the pollution entered the U.S.