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Responsible Party Must Cover All EPA Costs Related to Superfund Cleanup
Description Appeals court upheld trial court decision that responsible party must cover all of EPA's costs in supervising compliance with its orders for cleanup of a Superfund site. EPA could include in its costs its indirect costs.
Topic Environmental Law
Key Words Superfund, Administrative Costs
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts In 1981 the EPA discovered chromium contamination at a Chromalloy plant in Odessa, Texas. After its review, in 1988, EPA ordered treatment of the site. In 1991, Chromalloy and EPA entered into an agreement, under which the company was to do the prescribed cleanup and reimburse EPA for oversight costs. In 1996, EPA demanded $470,710 in oversight costs for 1992 through 1994. Chromalloy protested the amount as too high and claimed it was not responsible for EPA's indirect costs. District court ruled for EPA; Chromalloy appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The district court found that EPA accounted for its costs and the court properly deferred to EPA's expertise. Chromalloy would have to show that EPA was arbitrary and capricious to avoid liability. Indirect costs are a part of the total cost incurred by EPA and so are properly included in the total. CERCLA clearly states that responsible parties will reimburse EPA for all costs incurred in cleanup.
Citation U.S. v. Chromalloy American Corp., 158 F.3d 345 (5th Cir., 1998)

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