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Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) aka Superfund By Emma Yousif and John Petersen.

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Presentation on theme: "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) aka Superfund By Emma Yousif and John Petersen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) aka Superfund By Emma Yousif and John Petersen

2 Background/Preceding Events Love Canal, New York (6) – 21,000 tons of toxic waste discovered. – Waste discovered after site was sold to local school district by Hooker Chemical (now Occidental Petroleum Company aka Oxy). – Oxy was sued by EPA for restitution of $129 million. Times Beach, Missouri (12, 11) – Dust problem in the 1970s led the city to hire Russell Bliss to spray oil on dirt roads. – The spray also contained certain deadly chemicals, the most prominent of which being dioxin – Site was incinerated between 1996 and 1997, costing the government $110 million $10 million of which was reimbursed by Syntex, parent company of NEPACCO, the party responsible for the chemical

3 Background/Preceding Events (cont’d) Valley of the Drums, Kentucky (10, 7) – 23 acre toxic waste site – Visual representation for the need of the CERCLA Act of 1980 – Officials started to pay attention when the drums caught fire and burned for more than a week in 1966

4 The Act Enacted in December 11, 1980 (signed by Jimmy Carter) (15) CERCLA applies primarily to cleanup of inactive or abandoned sites and emergency response to spills (16) Provisions (14) – Removal Actions: Short-term responsive actions Addresses releases and localized risks such as hazardous substance spills, contaminated soils, etc. 3 types: Emergency, time-critical, and non-time critical – Remedial Actions: Long-term responsive actions Permanent actions Addresses sites on the NPL (National Priorities List) Not a normal statute; under CERCLA, government itself undertakes pollution abatement; polluters just pay through tax and reimbursement provisions (15)

5 The Act (cont’d) If responsible parties cannot be identified, Superfund may pay for cleanup costs & then sue for reimbursement (15) – i.e. Love Canal and Oxy Federal Authority (15) – Broad authority provided to respond to chemical releases or threatened releases which may endanger public health or the environment – Ranges from stabilization to removal – Ability to create taxes on chemical & petroleum Tax support expired in 1995 – National Contingency Plan (NCP) use to implement law – EPA directly implements law

6 Components National Priorities List (2, 3) – List comprises all toxic waste sites which are “priority” for clean-up – Priority is based on HRS (Hazardous Ranking System) Ranks are based on screening, public comments, and EPA final decision National Contingency Plan (15) – The cornerstone of CERCLA – Provides detailed criteria and priority sites for cleanup initiatives Includes how to respond to both oil spills and hazardous substances (following CWA) Listed Substances (15) – Those which are identified as “hazardous” and “toxic” based on CAA, CWA, RCRA, TSCA, and various other precedents. – If they present “a substantial danger to public health or welfare or the environment”. – Does not cover oil spills, requires different cleanup techniques.

7 National Priorities List Map

8 The “Fund” The actual “fund” is worth $1.6 billion (15) – Collected over a 5-year period – $1.38 billion from taxes on the manufacture of petroleum products & certain inorganic chemicals. – $220 million from general federal revenues.

9 Impacts and Effects Societal Impacts (1) – Encourages communities to get involved in environmental clean-up in their areas – Without CERCLA cleanups, other chemicals with various carcinogens would continue to plague residential areas and cities near dump sites – Adds to taxes American citizens have to pay for Specific Groups (1, 15, 16) – Programs and projects provide many jobs for environmental science majors – Injects money into different industries which aid in environmental waste remediation i.e. Companies that make incinerators – Responsible parties are forced to pay reparations for damages and their reputations are ruined Environment (1, 5) – Removes dangerous chemicals from areas which may stunt plant growth and effect local wildlife – Prevents waste from getting out of control and contaminating groundwater and air i.e. Chemical vapor release – Ecological Soil Screening Levels (Eco-SSLs) identify concentrations of contaminants in soils

10 Amendments Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1994 (4, 9) – Increases size of fund to $8.5 billion – Increases state involvement and encourages community participation – Stresses importance of technological innovation and permanent fixes – Necessary to revise HRS for better accuracy of assessments concerning threats to public and environmental health. Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002 (4, 13) – Brownfield: “an industrial or commercial site that is idle or underused because of real or perceived environmental pollution.” – Adds funds to help clean-up brownfields and to assist in state response programs – Specified CERCLA liability protections concerning small businesses – Necessary to clarify levels of liability and to address the growing concerns of idle waste sites.

11 Failures and Continuing Debates Raises constitutional questions (15) – Congressional power to internalize social and environmental impacts into the costs of industrial enterprises. – Does it violate due process because the cleanup taxes are not specifically related to hazardous waste releases? Issues of liability (15) – Should parties only be held responsible if they did not comply with standards? – Questions of how to price the levels of the waste dumping and the amount of dumping that the accused parties are responsible for Both are difficult to measure due to the tremendous amount of potential sources of various chemicals. Stimulus (8) – Recent economic stimulus clause gives $600 million to help boost Superfund. – Debate over the allocation of these funds and whether they are going towards worthwhile projects.

12 Captain Planet vs. Captain Pollution SUPERFUND TO THE RESCUE!!!!! KA-POW!

13 Bibliography 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ118.107 bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ118.107 14. 15.Environmental Protection: Law & Policy p.568-581 Authors: Anderson, Mendelker, and Tarlock Publisher: Little Brown & Company, Copyright 1984 16.Environmental Science: A Global Issue p.471, 540-1 Authors: William P. Cunningham, Mary Ann Cunningham, and Barbara Woodworth Saigo Publisher: McGraw-Hill, Copyright 2003 Note: Numbers in slides refer to corresponding numbered sources

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