Long Beach Unified School District v. Dorothy B. Godwin California Living Trust, 32 F.3d 1364, 24 Envtl. L. Rep. 21,279, a 1994 opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (9th Cir. 1994)(noting "[o]bviously 'owner' and 'operator' are distinct concepts, else Congress wouldn't have used two words. Like other courts, we read these categories in the disjunctive.") The easement in Long Beach was not a conservation easement, but rather an easement giving the easement holder the right to maintain a pipeline across land with hazardous waste.  The court found the easement holder was not an "owner or operator" under CERCLA.  The court's analysis is particularly helpful to most conservation easements that don't give any rights of management.  In dictum (for non-lawyers: 'going beyond the issues in the case') the court actually specifically mentions "scenic easements" and reasons that the easements should not create liability under CERCLA.