Playing Poker with Pollution: Why It Is Time to Change the CERCLA Reporting Obligations - NR&E | Winter 2011
Three decades after the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601 et seq., this country is still adding to its inventory of contaminated sites. Many of these contaminated properties have been transferred or sold a number of times since CERCLA was passed, yet regulators frequently are not notified about the environmental conditions uncovered during due diligence. Often times, regulators and community officials may only learn about contamination after an owner has filed for bankruptcy or abandoned the property. This article argues that the CERCLA reporting obligations and similar state laws are contributing to the creation of brownfields or delaying remediation. It proposes administrative solutions that EPA could adopt that will accelerate the pace of cleanups and allow the public to access information about the potential risks posed by sites in their communities.