Cleaning Up the Mess: Implementation Strategies in Superfund

Cleaning Up the Mess: Implementation Strategies in Superfund

Cleaning Up the Mess: Implementation Strategies in Superfund

Cleaning Up the Mess: Implementation Strategies in Superfund

Synopsis

The federal Superfund program for cleaning up America's inactive toxic waste sites is noteworthy not only for its enormous cost-- $15.2 billion has been authorized thus far--but also for its unique design.

Excerpt

This book is about Superfund, America's unique statutory scheme to use the more draconian elements of tort law to compel private businesses and public entities to clean up hazardous waste sites. the book is complex, befitting a program that may have generated as many acronyms as the New Deal (note the glossary at the back of this book). But our objective in undertaking this research was simple: to learn about the strategies used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to get individuals, corporations, and units of state and local government to pay millions of dollars to clean up environmental messes that these parties had a role in creating. We also hoped to offer some conclusions about the relative performance of the various approaches to this task that are authorized in the statutes.

Our objectives determined the approach we took to the research: a series of case studies of Superfund cleanups. These excursions into the nitty-gritty of decisionmaking at actual hazardous waste sites make up the central chapters of this book and provide the empirical basis for our subsequent analysis. This methodology limits the scope of the advice we ultimately are able to offer policymakers, however: while our concluding chapter offers some speculative judgments of the overall design and structure of Superfund, our basic endeavor has been to describe how the statutory and organizational framework operates and to provide some advice on how it might function more effectively.

Superfund has moved beyond its initial (and, some might add, exceedingly lengthy) shakedown phase. the basic legal tools are in place and their legitimacy has been established; an infrastructure of contractors has been created and many of the technical and scientific questions concerning site remediation are settled; the costs of creating the requisite bureaucratic apparatus in the epa have been paid; and there are existing models for guidance on everything from the . . .

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