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I Handle Recyclable Materials. How Can I Prevent Liability Under CERCLA?

Published in the April 27, 2018 edition of the Central Penn Business Journal.

CERCLA (a/k/a Superfund Law) is the federal law that imposes liability on parties responsible for the presence of hazardous substances at a site. Liability is retroactive and joint and several, and CERLCA imposes strict liability, making it difficult to defend against. A little-discussed exemption in CERCLA exists, however, for parties that arrange for recycling of recyclable materials. The exemption is known as the Superfund Recycling Equity Act (SREA). SREA only applies to limited classes of recyclable materials and only if appropriate due diligence and reasonable care is undertaken by the party arranging for the recycling of those materials. Importantly, the party desiring to take advantage of SREA needs to undertake an in-depth analysis of what materials are generated at the facility in question and which materials can be reused on-site. Yet, the benefits of availing one’s self of SREA’s exemption can have significant impacts in manufacturing and ancillary industries.

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