We’ve been speaking in recent posts about the Superfund cleanup process, how it works, and its purpose. What we want to highlight here is that citizens and communities have the opportunity to get involved in the Superfund cleanup process and see that their interests are represented in remedial investigations and feasibility studies, and ultimately that they are addressed when those plans are carried out.
The Superfund program, at least in theory, is supposed to encourage community involvement in the cleanup process. According to the EPA, the program aims for community participation early on in the cleanup process and seeks to address the concerns communities bring to the table. To assist in this effort, the EPA has various training and technical resources available for communities to allow for better participation.
In theory, this is great. In practice, though, things do not always work out according to the ideal. In some cases, it can be difficult to have authorities give a fair hearing to the concerns expressed by the community or parts of the community. One particular challenge can be when there is a small group of citizens who are particularly impacted by a certain aspect of a cleanup proposal but who don’t have enough of a voice to be sufficiently heard and represented in the cleanup process. More challenging yet are cases where there are conflicting community interests and a lack of consensus from the community itself.
Those who are significantly impacted by the pollution of a section of land that is being handled in the Superfund cleanup process can sometimes benefit from working with an experienced attorney who is able to make sure their interests are advocated and who has familiarity with how the process works and how decisions are made.
We’ll say more about how an experienced attorney can help in future posts.