In the past 18 months, federal courts have published more than 120 opinions dealing with claims made under two federal environmental statutes that impose strict liability and potentially catastrophic penalties and clean-up costs. These two statutes are the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (Superfund Act). They are are of critical interest to persons who transport or arrange for the transportation of hazardous wastes. Penalties and clean-up costs are imposed for environmental damages resulting from activities that occurred even before the statutes were enacted--regardless of whether such activities were lawful when they occurred, and regardless of whether the environmental problems stem from intentional dumping or accidental spills. Most common law defenses, such as the exercise of due care, are inapplicable. Carriers and brokers can find themselves sharing equal liability with the generators of the waste and the owners of the damaged sites. This paper outlines the principal areas of potential liability under the RCRA and the Superfund Act. It does not discuss potentially overlapping liability under certain other federal environmental statutes, international law, or state statutes. Nor does it cover in any details the claims that may be asserted under common law theories.

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  • Accession Number: 00492006
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 31 1990 12:00AM