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Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)

Law 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601 et seq. (1980)

legal Definition of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act

popularly Superfund created a trust fund ($1.6 billion) to be used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the cleanup of toxic waste sites. Any party responsible for creating or contributing to a dangerous toxic dump site was made subject to government suit and liable for damages, the compensation to be used to replenish the fund. Within two years the EPA was itself the target of congressional investigation, as various “sweetheart” deals (financially beneficial arrangements) between the EPA and polluters were discovered and many hazardous waste sites remained untouched. In 1986 the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) (codified throughout 42 U.S.C § 9601 et seq.) was signed, substantially increasing the size of the fund ($8.5 billion), establishing a new tax on corporations (particularly those in the chemical industry), and adding more controls to the EPA's management of the fund and the government's cleanup efforts.

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