State voluntary cleanup programs have facilitated the cleanup and reuse of contaminated commercial and industrial properties throughout the country. The benefits of cleaning up and reusing contaminated properties are difficult to overstate—these voluntary cleanups promote reuse of existing infrastructure, protect human health, provide economic benefits to the surrounding area and assist in the preservation of undeveloped green spaces. Pennsylvania environmental lawyers frequently advise clients on voluntary cleanups under the land recycling program (Act 2). A party voluntarily cleaning up a property likely should consider at the onset whether the party intends to seek contribution from potentially responsible parties for the cleanup costs. In the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, there is a question whether a party completing a voluntary cleanup must take steps beyond the actions required by the state program in order to seek contribution from potentially responsible parties under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 9601 et seq (CERCLA).
I examine this issue in this month’s Legal Intelligencer/Pennsylvania Law Weekly column. Read Guidance for Voluntary Cleanups and Preserving Potential Contribution Rights, 42 Pa. L. Weekly 47 (November 19, 2019), by clicking here.