Reducing Environmental Risk

What is the Superfund Program? The basics

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2023 | Superfund (CERCLA & State Superfund)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the branch of the federal Executive most directly tasked with maintaining and enforcing federal environmental standards under a variety of circumstances. One of the ways in which it accomplishes this broad and important aim involves its oversight of the Superfund program. 

Established as part of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, Superfund aims to address the thousands of environmental sites across the U.S. that are contaminated due to hazardous waste dumping, exposure or mismanagement. Understandably, those interested in purchasing, developing or otherwise investing in real property can run into challenges when they learn that property in which they have some interest is affected by Superfund status. 

Superfund actions

Obviously, when hazardous waste challenges threaten not only the integrity of the land, water and air but also human health, they need to be addressed effectively. Yet, it isn’t always clear who has liability for cleanup costs. The EPA is empowered to compel responsible parties to either pay for federal cleanup efforts or to effectively engage in cleanup efforts on their own. 

It’s worth noting that Superfund also empowers the EPA to clean up sites on its own in the event that there is no viable party that can be identified to hold responsible for costs. This is just one of the reasons why it may benefit businesses to carefully examine their potential liability for Superfund actions, as it may be possible to effectively argue that while a site may be in need of attention, it should not necessarily be their responsibility to facilitate cleanup efforts.

If Superfund has become an issue that is affecting your company’s plans, don’t hesitate to explore your options. Simply because Superfund is a noble endeavor doesn’t necessarily mean that your company should be burdened by its aims. 



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