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The Superfund Reform Act of 1994: Success or Failure Is Within EPA's Sole Discretion

April 1994

Citation: ELR 10161

Author: Steven M. Jawetz

Editors' Summary: The Clinton Administration's proposed Superfund amendments -- the Superfund Reform Act of 1994 (SRA) -- were introduced in both the House and Senate in early February. Steven M. Jawetz of Beveridge & Diamond, reviews several key provisions of the bill's first five titles, including proposals to increase delegation to states, narrow defenses to EPA administrative orders and cost recovery actions, institute a nonbinding allocation process, and modify the remedy selection process. Mr. Jawetz assesses the extent to which the bill would address various concerns about EPA's current Superfund program. He focuses particularly on the practical impact the bill's provisions would have on potentially responsible parties (PRPs), noting provisions of the bill that might overrule existing case law, identifying several instances in which the bill would narrow PRP defenses and enhance EPA's authority, and suggesting some changes in approach that might improve the bill. Mr. Jawetz concludes that, because so much of the bill would enhance EPA's authority and discretion, the bill's success or failure in improving Superfund would depend on the choices EPA made in implementing it.

Steven M. Jawetz is a principal in the Washington, D.C., office of Beveridge & Diamond. Founded in 1974, Beveridge & Diamond has over 80 attorneys nationwide practicing in virtually every area of environmental law.