Harvard Journal on Legislation
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) represents Congress' response to the problem of cleaning up hazardous waste sites. The Act and its related regulations authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) either to order the responsible parties to contain the hazardous waste on the site or to clean the site and charge the responsible parties for EPA's response costs. An unresolved issue is whether these provisions contemplate holding a lender/owner liable for response costs. In this Article, Professor Burkhart rebuts challenges to lender/owner liability. She begins by scrutinizing the language and legislative history of the liability provisions and their exceptions and reviewing the relevant environmental case law. She then considers constitutional challenges to lender/owner liability. Next, she reviews common law bases of liability. Professor Burkhart concludes that lender/owners should be held liable for response costs under CERCLA.
Ann Burkhart, Lender/Owners and CERCLA: Title and Liability, 5 Harv. J. on Legis. 317 (1988), available at https://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/252.