Supreme Court Clarifies CERCLA Provisions for Recouping Cleanup Costs [June 16, 2021] [open pdf - 687KB]
From the Document: "On May 24, 2021, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in 'Guam v. United States' [hyperlink] that could expand the ability to recover cleanup costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act [hyperlink] (CERCLA). CERCLA, the 'Superfund' statute, provides two avenues for lawsuits to recoup costs for the cleanup of contaminated sites. The 'Guam' decision clarified the relationship between these separate CERCLA provisions. This Sidebar explains CERCLA's framework for parties to recoup cleanup costs, discusses the 'Guam' decision, and considers the implications of the decision. As discussed below, the Court's ruling allows the Territory of Guam to proceed with its cost-recovery claim against the United States for costs associated with cleaning up the Ordot Dump. More broadly, the ruling could expand parties' ability to recover cleanup costs, particularly from federal agencies that bear some responsibility for contaminating a given site. It could also alter the scope and timing of settlement negotiations to resolve liability under CERCLA and other environmental statutes."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10609
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/