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Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)

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Presentation on theme: "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)

2 CERCLA Overview  CERCLA (also called “Superfund”) enacted in 1980 to provide for cleanup of leaking, inactive or abandoned hazardous waste sites.  CERCLA is a remedial statute—it creates a response, compensation, and liability scheme.

3 CERCLA Overview  CERCLA authorizes EPA to clean up hazardous waste sites and to compel potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-led cleanups.

4 CERCLA Overview  The CERCLA cleanup process is complex and long-term.  It involves: assessing sites placement on the National Priorities List (NPL) establishing and implementing cleanup plans.

5 CERCLA Overview  Over the past 25 plus years, EPA has located and analyzed tens of thousands of hazardous waste sites.  Through 2009: 1,320 NPL sites where actual or potential exposure to hazardous substances now under control. 1,012 NPL sites where contaminated groundwater sites under control. 1,080 NPL sites with cleanup construction completed

6 CERCLA Overview  In 2009, $965 million directed toward construction and post-construction projects. EPA obligated $247 million for 26 projects $139 million used to conduct 368 emergency response and removal actions  EPA secured $2.4 billion from PRPs in FY2009 to fund cleanup.

7 CERCLA Order Authority  EPA may order PRP to do the work.  DOJ may bring civil action asking court to order PRP to do the work.  PRP may agree to do the work.

8 Superfund Response Actions  Two basic types: Removal actions Remedial actions  Two options: EPA does the work Responsible party does the work

9 CERCLA Order Authority  EPA may issue administrative orders to Obtain information Gain site access  Penalties for noncompliance with orders up to $32,500 per day.

10 CERCLA liability standard  CERCLA civil liability is: strict joint and several retroactive no causation between a PRP’s actions and the actual cleanup costs need be shown  PRPs may seek contribution from other responsible parties

11 CERCLA Liability  Under CERCLA, civil liability may be imposed when there is: A release or threatened release of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant from a facility into the environment that causes response costs to be incurred; and the defendant is in at least one of the classes of liable parties under CERCLA section 107(a).

12 CERCLA Liable Parties  There are four classes of PRPs designated under CERCLA section 107: Current owners and operators: parties who own or operate a vessel or facility; Past owners and operators: parties who owned or operated the vessel or facility at the time of disposal; Arrangers for disposal (commonly referred to as “generators”): parties who arranged for the disposal or transport of hazardous substances; and Transporters: parties who accepted hazardous substances for transport to disposal sites and selected the site.

13 Defenses to CERCLA Liability  Act of G-d  Act of War  Third party defense—acts or omissions of a 3d party were the sole cause of a release  There are also certain exclusions from CERCLA coverage

14 CERCLA Claim for Natural Resource Damages  Federal, State, and Tribal Trustees may bring claim for natural resource damages caused by releases of hazardous substances.  Recoveries to be used to restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of injured natural resources.

15 CERCLA contribution actions  PRPs may bring a suit for contribution against other PRPs under Section 113(f) 113(f)(1) allows a party to seek contribution during or following civil action under Section 106 or 107. 113(f)(2) allows a party to an approved settlement to seek contribution.

16 One CERCLA Cleanup Scenario  EPA informed of hazardous waste site  EPA issues Administrative Order for Removal Action (UAO or AOC)  EPA Lists Site on National Priorities List, performs RI/FS  DOJ/EPA negotiate RD/RA Consent Decree with PRPs  PRPs sue Other Responsible Parties for Contribution

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