Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation : Vol. 22, No. 2, p. 313-342: United States v. Atlantic Research Corp.: The Supreme Court Restores Voluntary Cleanups Under CERCLA

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Title: Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation : Vol. 22, No. 2, p. 313-342: United States v. Atlantic Research Corp.: The Supreme Court Restores Voluntary Cleanups Under CERCLA
Author: Johnston, Craig N.
Abstract: United States v. Atlantic Research Corp.1 is easily the most important decision to date involving the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).2 In Atlantic Research, a unanimous Supreme Court restored CERCLA to its proper place in the environmental cleanup world, making it “comprehensive” once again. The opinion’s significance lies not in any earth-shaking pronouncements—indeed, the Court’s analysis is both straightforward and unadorned—but rather, in its context. As will be seen below, prior to this decision, the lower courts had taken a rather tortured path that, when combined with the Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in Cooper Industries v. Aviall Services, Inc. ,3 left CERCLA’s viability as a cost-spreading tool doubtful in most private party cleanup contexts. This doubt tended to discourage cleanup as landowners became nervous about their ability to bring to the table other entities who may have contributed to the relevant contamination.
Description: A print copy of this title is available through the UO Libraries under the call number: LAW LIB. K 10 .O425
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/5639
Date: 2007


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