Summary: H.R.3262 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.3262. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (02/25/1998)


Title I: Remedy

Title II: Community Participation and Human Health

Subtitle A: Community Participation

Subtitle B: Human Health

Subtitle C: General Provisions

Title III: Right to Know

Title IV: Environmental Justice

Title V: Children's Environmental Health

Title VI: Brownfield Remediation and Environmental Cleanup

Subtitle A: Brownfields

Subtitle B: Innocent Landowners and Prospective

Purchaser Liability

Subtitle C: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Brownfield Grants

Title VII: Natural Resource Damages

Title VIII: Federal Facilities

Title IX: Liability

Title X: Funding

Title XI: Miscellaneous

Children's Protection and Community Cleanup Act of 1998 - Title I: Remedy - Amends the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) to revise general rules for the selection of remedial cleanup actions. Removes a provision requiring the President to specifically address the long-term effectiveness of various alternative treatment or resource recovery technologies.

Requires remedial actions to: (1) make contaminated property available for beneficial use to the maximum extent practicable; and (2) protect uncontaminated groundwater and surface water, wherever technically feasible, and restore such water to beneficial uses in a reasonable time period given the circumstances of the release of the hazardous substance concerned.

Lists minimum factors to be taken into account by the President in assessing alternative remedial actions and selecting remedial actions.

Requires selected remedial actions, unless the President determines that a risk-based standard for a contaminant is based on data and assumptions adequate to assure protection of children's health, to reduce contamination to background levels (where more stringent) with respect to such contaminant, to the maximum extent technically feasible. Prohibits the selection of an action that allows hazardous substances to remain on site above levels that would be protective for unrestricted use unless institutional controls are incorporated into the action to achieve protection of human health and the environment during and after completion of the action.

Requires remedial actions for hazardous substances that remain on site to comply with any more stringent and legally applicable tribal standard.

Directs the President to ensure that a remedial action attains standards of control protective of human health in the environment in cases where: (1) no Federal, State, or tribal standard has been established for the specific hazardous substance present at the facility where the action is being undertaken; or (2) there are multiple hazardous substances present and the remedial action is not protective even though applicable requirements would be attained.

Removes a provision which requires the President to conform a remedial action to a State standard in cases where a State has initiated a law suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prior to May 1, 1986.

Eliminates a provision which allows the President to select a remedial action that does not attain a standard equivalent to a legally applicable standard if compliance with requirements is technically impracticable from an engineering perspective.

Sets forth minimum requirements for remedies for contaminated groundwater or surface water in cases where a legally applicable standard for a hazardous substance is waived.

Authorizes the President to use institutional controls as a supplement to, but not as a substitute for, other response measures under CERCLA.

Lists requirements for actions that rely on institutional controls.

Provides for funds to be established for facilities for which the selected remedy is containment or at which hazardous substances remain on site above levels that would allow for unrestricted use of the facility. Requires such funds to be sufficient to guarantee successful performance of a remedy and, to the extent technically feasible, future beneficial reuse.

Directs the EPA Administrator (Administrator) to report annually to the Congress, for each record of decision signed during the previous fiscal year, on the type of institutional controls and media affected and the institution designated to monitor, enforce, and ensure compliance with such controls.

Makes procedural requirements of State laws inapplicable to the portion of any removal or remedial action conducted entirely on site, except for recordkeeping and reporting.

(Sec. 102) Sets forth criteria for institutional control instruments. Requires the President, if such an instrument is adopted, to record a notice of property use restriction in the public land records for the jurisdiction in which the affected property is located. Makes such instruments enforceable in perpetuity (unless terminated and released) against holders of interest in an affected property and all persons who subsequently acquire such interest.

Directs the President to maintain a registry of all property at which institutional controls have been established in connection with response actions.

Describes types of institutional control instruments, including easements. Authorizes the President, in order to respond to a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance, to acquire an easement to limit or control the use of land or other natural resources. Permits easements to be used whenever institutional controls have been selected as a component of a response action. Sets forth provisions regarding the President's authority to assign easements to other parties, issue orders imposing restrictions on land or natural resources, and include State institutional controls in response actions.

(Sec. 103) Requires the President to ensure that a removal action is not undertaken in lieu of a long-term remedial action.

Title II: Community Participation and Human Health - Subtitle A: Community Participation - Revises provisions regarding grants for technical assistance to make such grants available to Community Advisory Groups or affected communities (defined as two or more individuals affected by the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance at a covered facility. Defines a "covered facility" as a facility: (1) that has been listed or proposed for listing on the National Priorities List (NPL); (2) at which the Administrator is undertaking an action anticipated to exceed one year or a specified funding limit; or (3) with respect to which the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Administrator has accepted a petition requesting a health assessment or related health activity. Expands the list of authorized grant activities and increases the maximum amount of such grants.

Requires the President to take specified actions to provide for meaningful public participation in every significant phase of response activities under CERCLA.

Permits Community Advisory Groups, affected Indian tribes and communities, and local government and health officials to propose remedial alternatives to the President.

Requires the President to make records relating to response actions at a covered facility available to the public throughout all phases of an action. Sets forth additional requirements with respect to public notice of certain removal actions.

(Sec. 203) Requires States or Indian tribes with covered facilities to establish Community Information and Access Offices. Provides funding for such Offices. Directs the Administrator to establish Offices for States or tribes that fail to do so.

(Sec. 204) Requires the President to provide the opportunity for the establishment of a Community Advisory Group, a representative public forum, to achieve direct, regular, and meaningful consultation with all interested parties throughout all stages of a response action whenever: (1) the President determines such a group will be helpful; or (2) ten individuals residing in the area in which the covered facility is located, or ten percent of the population of a locality in which the covered facility is located, whichever is fewer, petition for a Group to be established. Directs the President to adopt any consensus recommendation of a Group on land use as part of the remedy selected for the facility, with exceptions.

Authorizes the President to provide administrative support for such Groups.

Directs the Administrator to submit to the Congress a community study that includes an analysis of: (1) the speed of listing; (2) the speed and nature of response actions; (3) the degree to which public views are reflected in response actions; (3) use of institutional controls; and (4) the population, race, ethnicity, and income characteristics of communities affected by facilities listed or proposed for listing on the NPL. Requires periodic updates of such study. Directs the Administrator to institute necessary improvements or modifications to address any deficiencies identified by the study.

(Sec. 205) Requires the Administrator to conduct a program to assist in the recruitment and training of individuals in affected communities for employment in response activities.

Subtitle B: Human Health - Directs the President to notify State and local public health authorities and tribal health officials whenever there is reason to believe that a release (or threat of release) of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur.

Requires the ATSDR Administrator to perform a health assessment for each facility listed, or proposed for listing, on the NPL, including Federal facilities. Permits related health activities to be performed in lieu of assessments for facilities that are so listed or proposed for ecological reasons only.

Requires the ATSDR Administrator to develop and distribute educational materials on human health effects of hazardous substances to the public.

(Sec. 213) Provides for research on exposure or tolerance limits for hazardous substances found commonly at NPL facilities in cases where adequate information on health effects of a substance is not available.

Expands the duties of the ATSDR Administrator to require the Administrator to establish an inventory of exposure or tolerance limits for such substances.

(Sec. 215) Directs the President, in any case in which a person is relocated in order to reduce exposure and eliminate health risks from hazardous substances, to provide to the individual the replacement value of the individual's residence.

(Sec. 216) Authorizes and directs the ATSDR Administrator, pursuant to specified grants and contracts, to provide health services to communities affected by the release of hazardous substances. Makes funds available for such services for FY 2000 through 2004.

(Sec. 217) Provides for cooperation with Indian tribes with respect to certain ATSDR activities.

Requires the ATSDR Administrator to include in a biennial report on ATSDR activities the health impacts on Indian tribes of hazardous substances from covered facilities.

Subtitle C: General Provisions - Sets forth effective dates for provisions of this title.

Title III: Right to Know - Requires the annual disclosure of certain information by potentially responsible parties at NPL facilities and owners or operators of facilities subject to toxic chemical release reporting requirements under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA). Includes within such required disclosures information on quantities of certain hazardous substances and potential exposure of facility employees.

Directs the Administrator to consolidate all annual reporting pursuant to title I of CERCLA and other Federal environmental laws to the extent not prohibited by such laws.

Prescribes penalties for noncompliance with disclosure requirements.

Amends EPCRA to permit the withholding of portions of information required to be disclosed under CERCLA for purposes of protecting trade secrets.

(Sec. 302) Requires owners or operators of facilities subject to EPCRA reporting requirements to submit to the Administrator and State officials annual unstudied chemical release forms for each chemical subject to this section that was manufactured, processed, or used in quantities exceeding thresholds during the preceding year at the facility.

Permits the Administrator to: (1) apply such requirements to other facilities that use unstudied chemicals, as appropriate; and (2) exclude a class of facilities in a Standard Industrial Classification Code that is required to report under EPCRA if unstudied chemicals will not cause certain adverse human health or environmental effects.

Makes subject to the requirements of this section an unstudied chemical: (1) for which the information needed to complete a preliminary assessment of potential toxicity is not available; and (2) that is a compound containing at least carbon, hydrogen, and one or more of the elements chlorine, fluorine, or bromine or is a compound included on the 1990 High Production Volume List issued pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act. Authorizes the addition of chemicals subject to such requirements based on health or environmental effects or presence in human tissues, food stuffs, or drinking water.

Excludes from reporting requirements chemicals: (1) that are listed under EPCRA; (2) that are high molecular weight polymers; or (3) for which information is publicly available.

Sets forth provisions regarding information needed for preliminary assessment of potential toxicity of unstudied chemicals.

Establishes threshold amounts of unstudied chemicals which trigger reporting requirements.

Makes release form information publicly available.

Authorizes petitions to the Administrator to compel certain actions under this title, including the exemption from reporting, addition of chemicals subject to reporting, and revision of thresholds.

Requires the Administrator to establish a national unstudied chemicals inventory based on submitted data.

Makes violations of this title subject to civil and administrative penalties under EPCRA.

Provides trade secret protection for information disclosed under this title in the same manner as provided under EPCRA.

Title IV: Environmental Justice - Directs the President, acting through the Secretary of Commerce, to publish a list of special priority areas which shall be geographic areas in which residents face a high degree of economic distress or social disenfranchisement. Provides for updates to such list no later than two years after each official census count on social and economic characteristics. Describes areas to be included on such list.

Requires the President to advertise the right of petition for assessment of a hazardous substance release in such areas.

Directs the President to publish a list of special priority facilities which shall be those facilities located in special priority areas that are: (1) listed in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System; (2) the subject of a petition; or (3) those the President considers appropriate.

Establishes deadlines for completing preliminary assessments, site inspections, and hazard ranking of such facilities and for listing them on the NPL. Requires the President to ensure that a remedial action for any such facility on the NPL is completed within three years of placement on the NPL. Provides exceptions from placing such facilities on the NPL.

Title V: Children's Environmental Health - Requires the ATSDR Administrator and the Administrator to create a scientifically peer-reviewed list of environmental pollutants commonly found at facilities listed or proposed for listing on the NPL with known or suspected health risks to which fetuses and children are especially susceptible.

Provides for a toxicological profile for each listed substance. each listed substance.

Directs the Administrator or the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as appropriate, to review and revise, where necessary, environmental and public health regulations, risk assessment policies and procedures, and guidance documents issued under CERCLA to determine whether they consider and fully protect fetal and children's health.

Incorporates fetal and children's health concerns into all health research initiatives under CERCLA.

Requires the ATSDR Administrator to develop: (1) guidelines for addressing fetal and children's health issues in health studies and research programs; and (2) criteria for determining when and what type of child-specific health study shall be conducted based on the results of a health assessment. Expresses the sense of the Congress that the costs of such research programs should be borne by the manufacturers and processors of the hazardous substance in question.

Directs the ATSDR Administrator to: (1) establish an exposure registry for all children exposed to hazardous substances as the result of a release at an NPL facility where levels of exposure are significant for children's health; and (2) implement specified children's environmental health education and training programs.

Requires all lists, profiles, studies, and research results conducted under this title to be reported or adopted only after appropriate peer review. Sets forth requirements for peer reviews.

Title VI: Brownfield Remediation and Environmental Cleanup - Subtitle A: Brownfields - Directs the Administrator to establish a program to award grants to local governments to inventory and conduct site assessments of brownfield sites and provide training in the cleanup of such sites. Defines a "brownfield site" as land that contains or contained abandoned or under-used commercial or industrial facilities, the expansion or redevelopment of which may be complicated by the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants.

Sets forth grant application requirements and grant conditions.

Requires States to submit information to the Administrator on brownfield sites. Directs the Administrator to compile a National Brownfields Registry.

Directs the Administrator to establish a program to award grants to be used by local governments to capitalize revolving loan funds for the cleanup of brownfield sites, including associated rivers and streams. Authorizes local governments to provide such loans to finance cleanups by such governments or by owners or prospective purchasers of affected brownfield sites. Sets forth grant application and agreement requirements.

Requires grant recipients to report to the Administrator on the extent of local citizen involvement in funded projects.

Authorizes the Administrator to award a grant to a State if necessary to facilitate the receipt of funds by local governments that do not have the capabilities to manage grants.

Makes certain facilities ineligible for the grant program, including facilities that are the subject of response actions and Federal facilities. Authorizes the President to make exceptions for excluded facilities and allow grants on a facility-by-facility basis.

Makes amounts available from the Hazardous Substance Superfund (Superfund) to carry out the grant programs.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1999 through 2003.

(Sec. 602) Authorizes the Administrator to award grants to, and enter into cooperative agreements with, States, Indian tribes, municipalities, and other specified agencies and organizations for training, technology transfer, and information dissemination programs to strengthen environmental response activities.

(Sec. 603) Requires the Administrator to provide grants and other forms of assistance for brownfields workforce training programs in communities that contain brownfield sites.

Subtitle B: Innocent Landowners and Prospective Purchaser Liability - Amends CERCLA, with respect to defenses to liability of an owner of after-acquired property, to deem a person to have made (under current law, "undertaken") appropriate inquiry into the property's previous ownership and uses if the person establishes that an environmental site assessment was conducted which meets specified requirements (compliance with an American Society for Testing and Materials standard or with standards issued by the President) and the person fulfills certain responsibilities concerning information compilation, exercise of appropriate care with respect to hazardous substances at the facility, and cooperation with those conducting response actions.

(Sec. 622) Absolves from liability for response actions bona fide prospective purchasers to the extent liability at a facility for a release or threat thereof is based solely on ownership or operation of a facility. Gives a lien upon a facility to the United States for unrecovered response costs in any case in which there are such unrecovered costs for which the owner is not liable by reason of this section and the facility's fair market value has increased above that which existed 180 days before the action was taken.

(Sec. 623) Exempts certain contiguous property owners from liability.

Subtitle C: Department of Housing and Urban Development Brownfield Grants - Amends the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 to direct the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make grants, in connection with the authority to guarantee obligations to finance certain community development activities, to eligible public entities for projects and activities for economic redevelopment of brownfield sites.

Title VII: Natural Resource Damages - Adds the reasonable costs of recovering natural resource damages to the list of recoverable damages for which liable parties are responsible under CERCLA.

(Sec. 703) Eliminates the damage assessment rebuttable presumption and prescribes revised procedures for natural resource damage assessments.

(Sec. 704) Authorizes a trustee for natural resources to establish an administrative record on which the trustee will base the selection of a plan for restoration of the resource. Provides for participation of interested persons in the development of an administrative record.

(Sec. 705) Provides that the presence of hazardous substances in sediments of U.S. waters above background or reference levels shall be sufficient to establish injury to natural resources for purposes of determining liability.

Directs the Administrator and the appropriate natural resource trustees to report to the Congress on how response, remedial, and restoration actions are restoring and protecting natural resources affected by the facilities of: (1) Hudson River, New York; (2) Newark and New York Bays, New York and New Jersey; (3) Housatonic River, Connecticut and Massachusetts; (4) New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts; (5) Clark Fork River, Montana; (6) Lavaca Bay, Texas; (7) Palos Verdes, California; (8) Fox River, Wisconsin; (9) Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and (10) Hanford, Washington.

(Sec. 706) Requires natural resource trustees to conduct a program to assist in the recruitment and training of individuals in affected communities for employment in restoration activities.

(Sec. 707) Revises provisions regarding the statute of limitations on natural resource damage actions.

(Sec. 708) Adds archaeological resources to the definition of "natural resources" under CERCLA.

(Sec. 709) Authorizes citizen suits to recover natural resources damages.

Title VIII: Federal Facilities - Revises provisions regarding the applicability of CERCLA to the U.S. Government. Makes Federal agencies subject to all Federal, State, interstate, and local requirements regarding response actions and damages related to, or management of, hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants in the same manner as any nongovernmental entity.

Waives immunity of the United States with respect to the enforcement of injunctive relief. Makes Federal employees subject to criminal sanctions under State or Federal response laws.

Authorizes the Administrator to issue an abatement order to a Federal agency and requires initiation of an administrative enforcement action in the same manner as action would be initiated against any other person.

Requires all funds collected by a State from the Federal Government from penalties imposed under this section to be used only for projects to improve or protect the environment or to defray costs of environmental protection or enforcement unless a State law requires such funds to be used differently.

Requires Federal agencies to notify States and the Administrator of removal actions.

Sets forth additional conditions under which a Federal property may be transferred to any other person without a covenant warranting that all remedial action has been taken on the property. Establishes additional assurances to be contained in deeds governing such transfers with regard to hazardous substances releases for which a Federal agency is potentially responsible.

Title IX: Liability - Provides exemptions to liability (including liability for contribution) for response costs for pre-July 1997 acts if liability is based solely on arranging for disposal, treatment, or transport of, or accepting, a specified limited amount of hazardous substances. Absolves certain small parties of liability based on arrangement or acceptance provisions if the substance involved was municipal solid waste or sewage sludge.

Removes a provision which excludes petroleum from the definition of "hazardous substance" under CERCLA.

Provides that persons liable for willful releases of hazardous substances or threats thereof may be liable to the United States for punitive damages in an amount of up to two times the costs incurred by Superfund as a result of such a release.

Title X: Funding - Extends the authorization of appropriations to carry out specified Superfund authorities through FY 2003.

(Sec. 1007) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend the environmental income tax to taxable years beginning after December 31, 1998, and before January 1, 2004.

Extends specified provisions regarding: (1) Superfund's financing rate; (2) limits on tax if the unobligated balance in Superfund exceeds a specified amount; and (3) the repayment deadline for advances made to Superfund.

Title XI: Miscellaneous - Increases the ceiling on certain penalties under CERCLA. Prescribes penalties for specified additional violations.

(Sec. 1103) Considers a remedial action that attains applicable requirements to be protective of human health and the environment unless the President determines otherwise. Directs the President to establish additional requirements to ensure such protection, as necessary. Provides that the decontamination regulations for site termination issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on July 21, 1997, shall not be considered sufficiently protective.

Revises the definition of "federally permitted release" under CERCLA with respect to releases of source, special nuclear, or byproduct material in compliance with licenses, permits, regulations, or orders pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to apply such definition only if such licenses, permits, regulations, or orders adequately protect groundwater.

Applies requirements of this Act pertaining to Federal facilities to facilities subject to licenses or decontamination regulations for license termination issued by the NRC.

Amends environmental excise tax provisions to treat uranium dioxide as a taxable chemical only if it is used as a fuel in a nuclear reactor.