Politics, the Environment, and the Rural/Urban Divide

Rural areas have been home to regulatory skeptics. But there may be ways of changing that.

Is there an urban/rural split in America? Definitely so, in politics, demography, and economics — and on the environment. Consider this, from Dan Balz at the Washington Post: “in the 2,332 counties that make up small-town and rural America, [Trump] swamped his Democratic rival, winning 60 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 34 percent.” But Balz reports …


The Supreme Court and CERCLA

Following up on yesterday’s post, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the trajectory of Supreme Court cases dealing with CERCLA liability. In the federal courts generally, CERCLA cases began slowly, with one in 1981 and 11 in 1982. The number of cases per year then built steadily until at peak …


The (Somewhat Puzzling) Trajectory of CERCLA Litigation

The pattern of reported CERCLA opinions is puzzling — a steady rise until 1995, followed by a decline until 2002, followed by another rise through 2010. The explanation for the final period is unclear.


Happy Birthday, CERCLA!

Thirty years ago today, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Clean-up and Liability Act (a/k/a CERCLA or Superfund).  CERCLA’s primary thrust is to create liability for cleanup of leaking waste disposal sites.  The statute was Congress’s response to a number of high profile incidents, including the Love Canal debacle, that increased public awareness of the …


An Invitation to Review the Supreme Court’s Environmental Record

This has been a blockbuster year in the U.S. Supreme Court for environmental law and policy. In the Term that concludes this month, the justices have decided five major environmental cases, involving many of the nation’s most important environmental laws. Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE), one of the sponsors of …


The Supreme Court’s recent Superfund decision may have a significant impact on future cleanups

As Dan has noted, on Monday the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in a widely-watched case interpreting CERCLA, the Superfund law.  (Dan posted some brief thoughts about the opinion, BURLINGTON NORTHERN & SANTA FE RAILWAY.  CO V. UNITED STATES.)  Dan says that the part of the opinion dealing with apportionment of liability “does not purport to establish any new principles but does …


Court ruling will force EPA to take action it was required to take in 1983 (!)

It is not unusual for the federal government to neglect its statutory duties under federal environmental laws; when it does, citizen suits are the primary means of ensuring that the government follows the law.  Sometimes federal agencies’ inaction results from lack of resources, and sometimes it results from intentionally interpreting its duties in a minimalist manner.  In some …