Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act

The Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act which has been adopted by several states such as Colorado, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, and Wisconsin, applies to suits for pollution which cross political boundaries.  The Act was drafted and recommended for enactment by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.

The Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act contains rules specifically relating to cases involving transboundary pollution.  The Act provides that a legal action, for injury or threat of injury to property or person in a reciprocating jurisdiction, caused by pollution, originating in another reciprocating jurisdiction, may be brought in the jurisdiction from which the pollution originated.  A “reciprocating jurisdiction” is a state of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory or possession of the United States of America, or a province or territory of Canada, which has enacted the Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act or a substantially similar piece of legislation.

A person of a reciprocating jurisdiction, who has been injured in person or property as a result of the pollution that originating in another reciprocating jurisdiction, has the right to bring an action in the  jurisdiction where the pollution originated, as if the injury was caused in the jurisdiction where the pollution originated.  The term “person” includes individuals, corporations, business trusts, estates, trusts, partnerships, associations, joint ventures, government in its private or public capacity, governmental subdivisions or agencies, or any other legal entities.

The law to be applied in an action brought pursuant to the Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act is the law of the jurisdiction from which the pollution originated.  

A person injured in another jurisdiction is not generally provided any superior rights, when s/he sues in the jurisdiction where the pollution originated, but is treated at par with the persons of the jurisdiction where the pollution originated.  However, there should not be derogation of any other rights of the person suing from another reciprocating jurisdiction.

The defense of sovereign immunity is applicable in any action brought pursuant to Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act.  However, the immunity is permissible only to the extent that it would apply to a person injured in the jurisdiction from which the pollution has originated.


Inside Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act