We are continuing to look at the Superfund cleanup process, particular how the Environmental Protection Agency holds parties accountable for their contributions to toxic waste. We’ve already spoken briefly about the three characteristics of Superfund liability. Now, the question is: when is liability triggered and what exactly is a contaminating party responsible for?
Last time, we looked briefly at the general outline of the Superfund cleanup process, beginning with the discovery of a potentially contaminated site all the way through completion of cleanup efforts and evaluation of the need for long-term protection of a site. One of the points we’d like to touch on briefly is liability. How does the Environmental Protection Agency go about holding contaminating parties liable?
In our previous post, we spoke about a Superfund site on the grounds of the old Linden Chemical Plant near Brunswick, where the least tern population has been found to be contaminated from migration of toxins through the fish supply.
You know the old saying about the canary in a coal mine? Something like that is currently happening along the Georgia coast with a species of bird known as least terns. Researchers from the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory have found a blend of toxic chemicals among six nesting populations if last terns in areas surrounding a section of land that used to host the manufacture of insulation materials.
We have previously mentioned on this blog that private citizens and groups can have an important role to play in enforcing the Clean Water Act, not only in reporting violations to the Environmental Protection Agency, but also in pursuing what are known as citizen suits. Under the Clean Water Act, private parties may bring actions in federal court against parties who violate the law, including government agencies.