There is one summary for H.R.2500. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (10/18/1995)


Title I: Remedy Selection and Community Participation

Title II: Liability

Title III: Brownfields and Voluntary Cleanups

Title IV: Natural Resource Damages

Title V: State Role

Title VI: Federal Facilities

Title VII: Miscellaneous

Title VIII: Amendments to Oil Pollution Act of 1990

Title IX: Remediation Waste Management

Title X: Funding

Subtitle A: Expenditures from the Hazardous Substance


Subtitle B: Five-Year Extension of Hazardous Substance


Reform of Superfund Act of 1995 - Title I: Remedy Selection and Community Participation - Amends the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund) to add new provisions establishing a national risk protocol. Requires that risk assessments conducted under the Act: (1) provide scientifically objective and unbiased estimates and characterizations which neither minimize nor exaggerate the nature and magnitude of risks to human health and the environment; (2) distinguish scientific findings from other considerations; and (3) be based on relevant and current scientific, technical, and exposure-related information, including epidemiological data, data on bioavailability, and site-specific information.

Requires the President to publish guidelines which, among other requirements, define the use of probabilistic modeling, population risk estimates, and approaches for addressing cumulative potential risks posed by multiple contaminants or multiple exposure pathways. Requires further that the guidelines provide methodology for establishing protective exposure levels that are set, to the extent feasible and scientifically appropriate, at the final 90th percentile of exposure probability distribution.

Directs the President to conduct a review and assessment of the health effects values and toxicological profiles of 25 specified hazardous substances considered to be carcinogens. Requires publication of the finalized assessment with explanations of assumptions, inferences, models, and other factors.

(Sec. 102) Replaces existing remedial action selection provisions with provisions requiring, among other factors, protection from realistic and significant risks through cost-reasonable means.

Adds drinking water standards requirements for remedies.

Revises standards for protective remedies and the methods of remediation. Requires consideration of the views of Community Assistance Groups in development of certain recommendations. Requires site-specific risk assessments.

Establishes revised procedures for consideration of remedial action alternatives and the factors to be balanced in reaching final decisions, including cost-effectiveness, anticipated uses, and site-specific risk assessments. Allows for generic remedies when demonstrated to be effective.

Requires the President to consider new procedures for conducting remedial investigations and feasibility studies in an efficient, cost-effective, and timely manner, providing for their inclusion in the next revised National Contingency Plan.

Allows a finding of technical impractability on a site-specific analysis basis without a requirement that the remedial measure first be installed and reviewed, unless the analysis is insufficient or inadequate.

States that Federal and State procedural requirements shall not apply to response actions conducted on-site. (Current law refers only to permit requirements.) Revises disposal standards. Adds provisions allowing review and comment by States adjoining certain facilities.

(Sec. 103) Revises provisions relating to grants for technical assistance to groups affected by release or threatened release of hazardous substances at facilities on the National Priorities List. Sets a funding limit of $20 million annually. Adds provisions for citizen and community participation in the Superfund decisionmaking process.

(Sec. 104) Adds provisions establishing Community Assistance Groups (CAGs) to provide views to the President and others on matters related to facility remediation. Limits eligibility for Technical Assistance Grants.

(Sec. 105) Adds under the hazard ranking system of the National Contingency Plan for removal of oil and hazardous substances requirements that the President place highest priorities on facilities where there is actual ongoing human exposure at levels of public health concern or demonstrated adverse health effects.

(Sec. 106) Removes the requirement for a national registry of serious diseases and illnesses. Specifies that the national registry of persons exposed to hazardous substances is for scientific and public health purposes.

Provides that in cases of public health emergencies, exposed persons shall be eligible for referral to accredited medical care providers. (Under current law persons are eligible for admission to Public Health Service facilities.)

(Sec. 107) Authorizes the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to conduct health effects studies directly or by cooperative agreements and grants. Allows additional types of research studies by ATSDR. Revises ATSDR health assessment, health studies, information distribution, and other directives.

(Sec. 112) Extends emergency removal authority.

(Sec. 113) Adds provisions authorizing the President to acquire a hazardous substance easement restricting or controlling the use of land, water, or other natural resources.

(Sec. 114) Grants Federal court jurisdiction to review of final decisions regarding the selection of a remedy under CERCLA.

Title II: Liability - Amends CERCLA to allow potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to receive a reimbursement from the Fund of 50 percent of cleanup costs incurred after October 18, 1995, for liability due to pre-1987 activity.

(Sec. 202) Adds provisions creating liability exemptions and limitations for, among others: (1) pre-1987 de minimis contributors; (2) specified National Priorities List (NPL) municipal landfills; (3) municipal solid waste and sewage sludge, if the person is a homeowner or renter, small business, or small, nonprofit organization; (4) de micromis contributors; (5) facilities acquired by inheritance or bequest; and (6) NPL-site contiguous properties.

(Sec. 203) Adds new provisions stating that exemptions and limits of liability shall not apply to any person whose liability is based on an act that was illegal at the time.

(Sec. 206) Prohibits the President from amending certain administrative orders or issuing additional orders without a subsequent finding of an imminent and substantial endangerment. Describes sufficient causes. Sets limitations on authority for pre-enactment releases at non-NPL facilities.

(Sec. 207) Adds new provisions on allocations at multi-party facilities, describing when EPA shall initiate the allocation process, the process itself, and post-settlement litigation.

(Sec. 210) Amends provisions governing liability of response action contractors.

(Sec. 211) Adds provisions authorizing the use of annuity contracts or other financial instruments by PRPs to make payments for response costs. Adds authority for PRP challenges to cost recovery components of a settlement under certain circumstances.

(Sec. 213) Amends CERCLA to require EPA to offer final covenants not to sue to settling parties who meet certain requirements and pay a premium. Authorizes discretionary covenants not to sue when in the public interest.

(Sec. 214) Revises expedited final settlement procedures.

(Sec. 215) Adds provisions exempting recyclers from liability if they make certain threshold demonstrations. Applies such exemptions to scrap paper, plastic, glass, rubber (other than whole tires), metal, and batteries.

(Sec. 216) Makes information available to the public after 45 days. Amends confidentiality requirements regarding information obtained by EPA.

Title III: Brownfields and Voluntary Cleanups - Adds new provisions requiring the Administrator to provide assistance to State voluntary response programs.

(Sec. 302) Adds definitions of "owner or operator" for purposes of determining cleanup liability to exclude holders of indicia of ownership who are primarily protecting a security interest but do not exercise responsibility for the handling of hazardous substances. Modifies liability of fiduciaries. Limits liability to actual benefit.

(Sec. 303) Requires that the standards developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials be used to determine whether a defendant qualifies as an innocent landholder.

(Sec. 304) Adds provisions limiting Federal enforcement actions under CERCLA for States with approved remedial action programs.

(Sec. 305) Details conditions under which a bona fide prospective purchaser shall not be considered liable for response costs.

Title IV: Natural Resource Damages - Amends CERCLA to define "restoration," "reasonable restoration measures," "cost-effective," "cost-reasonable," "timely," and "baseline condition." Specifies covered damages, limits of liability, and damage measurement conditions.

Title V: State Role - Amends CERCLA to add provisions providing that the Administrator may delegate authority to a State to take action at any or all NPL sites within the State, including Federal facilities. Sets eight categories of authority for delegation. Removes 50 percent cost share requirements in State- or local-operated sites, lowering such requirement to ten percent. Allows State petitions for lower cost shares in certain cases.

(Sec. 502) Sets caps on yearly additions to the National Priorities List, prohibiting additions entirely by 2003.

(Sec. 503) Revises provisions governing State and local reimbursement for response actions.

Title VI: Federal Facilities - Revises existing CERCLA provisions governing the State role at Federal facilities.

(Sec. 602) Adds provisions allowing Federal facilities on NPL to be designated by the President for research, development, and application of innovative technologies for remedial action at the facility. Prescribes procedures. Requires reports to the Congress.

(Sec. 605) Revises provisions regarding the applicability of specified provisions of CERCLA to the U.S. Government. Makes the United States subject to all Federal, State, interstate, and local substantive and procedural requirements, including administrative orders and penalties and fines, and reasonable service charges. States that neither the United States nor any agent, employee, or officer shall be immune from any court process with respect to the enforcement of injunctive relief.

(Sec. 608) Requires Federal agencies to conduct annual studies to determine environmental management priorities at NPL facilities and report to Congress.

Title VII: Miscellaneous - Revises existing definitions and adds new definitions of terms, including "municipal solid waste" and "construction contractor."

(Sec. 703) Requires the EPA Administrator to establish a small business Superfund assistance section within the EPA small business ombudsman office. Assigns specified functions to the section.

(Sec. 706) Revises CERCLA report requirements.

Title VIII: Amendments to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 - Amends the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to require cost-effective restoration of natural resources and to include natural recovery as a means of natural resource restoration.

(Sec. 802) Changes current language to include reasonable and necessary costs and other changes in the measurement of damages.

(Sec. 803) Requires the issuance of regulations by August 8, 1998, with requirements for damage assessments and the appointment of a lead trustee under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

(Sec. 804) Adds definitions, including definitions of "cost- effective," "cost-reasonable," and "timely."

Title IX: Remediation Waste Management - Amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act to add a new title on remediation waste management.

Exempts remediation waste from hazardous waste and other regulation. Applies the exemption to orders, permits, enforceable agreements, or other remedial action plans issued by EPA or a State.

Directs that remedies required under the corrective action program be necessary to protect human health and the environment from realistic risks in a cost-effective and cost-reasonable manner. Enumerates five factors to be balanced in selecting remedies. Requires the final remedy to be based on the current use of land, water, and other resources at the site unless there is a substantial probability of different future uses.

Prescribes procedures for the certification of State hazardous waste programs for the management of remediation wastes. States that the effect of certification is that remediation waste shall no longer be considered hazardous waste or, under the Toxic Substances Control Act, toxic waste.

Provides for the establishment of EPA remediation waste programs in States without certified programs.

Prescribes enforcement provisions, imposing criminal penalties for violations involving remediation waste regulations.

Amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act to provide that petroleum-contaminated media and debris from cleanup of leaking underground storage tanks that is hazardous due to organic constituents shall not be considered hazardous waste.

Title X: Funding - Subtitle A: Expenditures from the Hazardous Substance Superfund - Revises authority to use the Fund for technical assistance grants, worker training, and other activities. Makes funds available for certain response, removal, remediation, and other costs. Limits natural resource damage funds to $50 million per year for FY 1996-1998 and $100 million annually thereafter. Limits funding for certain administration, oversight, monitoring, evaluation, enforcement, and other activities to 25 percent of the total for FY 1996-1998, and 20 percent for FY 1996 and thereafter. Sets specified other limitations on the use of Fund monies. Authorizes appropriations to the Hazardous Substance Superfund through FY 2000.

Subtitle B: Five-Year Extension of Hazardous Substance Superfund - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend the collection of Superfund taxes through 2000. Increases the aggregate tax which may be collected from $11.97 billion to $22 billion until December 31, 2000. Extends the repayment deadline. Provides additional sources of funds for Superfund.