The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), often referred to as the “Superfund” law, was adopted in December 1980 by a lame-duck Congress. The text is the product of haste and not always illuminating; to illustrate, an “owner or operator” is “any person owning or operating” a facility. Its legislative history was sparse—the Congress was rushed to get something passed before Ronald Reagan took office a month later. It is a statute that has been enhanced often by statutory interpretations accounting for CERCLA’s “remedial purpose”—at least until the Supreme Court has gotten involved.
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