Superfund Financial Responsibility
Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund) gives EPA the authority to require that classes of facilities establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility to cover the costs associated with releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances from their facilities.
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In July 2009, EPA identified certain hardrock mining and mineral processing facilities as the first group of facilities for which EPA would consider development of financial responsibility requirements under CERCLA section 108(b).
On December 1, 2016 EPA proposed financial responsibility requirements for the hardrock mining and mineral processing industry.
On December 1, 2017 EPA announced its decision not to issue final regulations for financial responsibility requirements for the hardrock mining and mineral processing facilities. After careful analysis of public comments, the statutory authority, and the record for this rulemaking, EPA concluded the degree and duration of risk associated with the modern production, transportation, treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous substances by the hardrock mining industry does not present a level of risk of taxpayer funded response actions that warrant imposition of financial responsibility requirements under CERCLA for this sector. This determination reflects EPA’s interpretation of the statute, EPA’s evaluation of the record for the proposed rule, and the approximately 11,000 public comments received by EPA on this rulemaking.
In a 2010 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) published in the Federal Register, EPA identified other classes of facilities for possible development of CERCLA Section 108(b) financial responsibility requirements, including those in the chemical manufacturing, petroleum and coal products manufacturing, and the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industries.
In December 2016, EPA published a notice describing its plan to consider financial requirements under CERCLA for the electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry; the chemical manufacturing industry; and the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry. The notice explains that EPA intends to move forward with the regulatory process, which will determine, what, if any, financial responsibility requirements are necessary for these industries. EPA will evaluate a broad range of options in consultation with stakeholders, including state and tribal governments, industry groups and environmental groups before making such determinations.