U.S. Supreme Court: CTS Ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a crucial ruling in the lawsuit against operators of the former CTS plant in Buncombe County.
Justices say a North Carolina statute of limitations "deserves scrutiny" in legal action against the company.
The federal lawsuit was filed by neighbors of what is now a toxic "Superfund" site.
The High Court will decide whether federal law supersedes the state's ten-year statute of limitations on filings.
Neighbors have long argued toxic waste from the old metal-plating operation has poisoned their water and soil, and made many of them sick.
But CTS sold the operation almost 27-years-ago and the lawsuit was not filed within the time limit.
"The contaminator wants the state statutes and repose to stay in place because it benefits them", said Tate MacQueen, a community activist who has spearheaded much of the legal action against the company.
MacQueen said that's "because if they can figure a way to run the clock out, like perpetual testing with never cleaning anything up, well then, we pay the price for that."
The Supreme Court decision means justices agree there needs to be clarification, whether matters like the CTS case ought to be governed by federal law.
The High Court will hear arguments in April or May.
By Frank Kracher
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankKracher