Sufficient Cause to Just Say “No”? CERCLA 106 Orders


A party who “without sufficient cause” refuses to comply with a CERCLA § 106 Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) to perform remediation work may be fined up to $32,500 for each day of noncompliance. Performing the work and trying to recover costs from other potentially responsible parties (PRPs) or the Superfund may be equally unappealing, however, and challenging the order directly is likely to be unsuccessful. As explained more fully below, a noncomplying party’s liability defense must be objectively supported in order to constitute “sufficient cause” to decline compliance. The strategic option to rely on a sufficient cause defense and the underlying objective support test are explored here for those confronted with a UAO.

Excerpted from the article published in Natural Resources & Environment Volume 25, Number 3, Winter 2011. © 2010 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. To read the full article click on the PDF linked below.

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