ASTM International Publishes Guide for Property Owners Seeking Superfund Liability Relief


In 2002, Congress passed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which, among other things, amended the Superfund statute (also known as "CERCLA") to carve out of the harsh liability scheme exceptions for certain new property owners that did not cause contamination found on their property. Congress was responding to developers' reluctance to acquire Brownfields properties because CERCLA made owners of contaminated properties fully liable under the "no fault" joint and several liability scheme even though contamination on the property may have been caused by prior owners or third parties. Congress' aim was to remove disincentives for restoring Brownfields sites to productive use by creating a pathway for new property owners to escape CERCLA liability if they satisfied certain conditions.

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