Superfund Financial Responsibility

Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund) gives EPA the authority to require that classes of facilities establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility. This financial responsibility demonstrates the owner or operator's ability to cover the costs associated with releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances from their facilities.

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Requirements for the Hardrock Mining and Mineral Processing Industry

In July 2009, EPA identified certain hardrock mining and mineral processing facilities as its first priority for the development of financial responsibility requirements under CERCLA section 108(b). EPA research indicated that the hardrock mining and mineral processing industry typically operates on a large scale, and, in some situations, subsequent exposure of humans, organisms, and ecosystems to hazardous substances occurs on a similarly large scale. Hardrock mining facilities generate an enormous volume of waste, which may increase the risk of hazardous substance release.

On December 1, 2016 EPA proposed financial responsibility requirements for the hardrock mining and mineral processing industry.  

Market Capacity Study

EPA conducted a study to assess the availability of financial responsibility instruments and the capacity of third-party markets to underwrite requirements for parties subject to CERCLA 108(b) and to report on the relationship of CERCLA section 108(b) to financial responsibility programs of other federal agencies.

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Requirements for Additional Classes of Facilities

In a 2010 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) also published in the Federal Register, EPA identified additional classes of facilities for possible development of CERCLA Section 108(b) financial responsibility requirements, including those in the chemical manufacturing, petroleum and coal products manufacturing, and the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industries.

In December 2016, EPA published a notice describing its plan to consider financial requirements under CERCLA for the electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry; the chemical manufacturing industry; and the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry. The notice explains that EPA intends to move forward with the regulatory process, which will determine, what, if any, financial responsibility requirements are necessary for these industries. EPA will evaluate a broad range of options in consultation with stakeholders, including state and tribal governments, industry groups and environmental groups before making such determinations.

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