Footing the Bill for Superfund Cleanups: Who Pays and How?

Footing the Bill for Superfund Cleanups: Who Pays and How?

Footing the Bill for Superfund Cleanups: Who Pays and How?

Footing the Bill for Superfund Cleanups: Who Pays and How?

Synopsis

"The authors are as knowledgeable about Superfund in all its glory as anyone in America. This book should be read by everyone interested in the subject, but be careful, it may curl your hair."--William Ruckelshaus, Chairman, Browning Ferris Industries, former U.S.E.P.A. Administrator The authors develop information on who is likely to pay the cost of the current Superfund program. They also explore the financial implications of changes in liability and taxes on four key sectors affected by Superfund: chemicals, oil, mining, and commercial property-casualty insurers. They analyze the different taxing mechanisms and liability schemes and compare the financial effects on specific industries of the current Superfund program and of several alternative liability and tax-based funding mechanisms available.

Excerpt

For the past two years, large manufacturing firms, environmentalists, insurance companies, local citizens' groups, and many others inside and outside government have been debating changes in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (better known as Superfund), which establishes procedures for identifying and apportioning the costs of cleaning up sites contaminated by hazardous substances. Each group has its favorite reform proposal, and each proposal is put forward with the claim that it will hasten the cleanup of sites, "get the lawyers out of the process," ameliorate a variety of inequities, and cure all manner of statutory ills. Yet few advocates support their claims with careful data and rigorous analysis. This book attempts to remedy that problem.

Focusing on one particularly controversial aspect of Superfund-- the liability standards that spell out who can be made to pay for the cleanup of hazardous substances--Katherine Probst, Don Fullerton, Robert Litan, and Paul Portney have analyzed who really bears the economic burdens created under the law. They discuss the initial incidence of the cleanup costs that private parties often have to bear, the transaction costs (legal fees, most prominently) that accompany the cleanup costs, and the special taxes created under the Superfund, as well as the administrative and compliance costs to which the taxes give rise. the authors then show how these burdens are likely to be shifted to other parties. They perform this analysis both for current . . .

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