CPR Archive for Robin Kundis Craig

Remedying Toxic Exposures: Will CERCLA Continue to Help?

by Robin Kundis Craig | June 11, 2014

On Monday, June 9, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, --- U.S. ---, --- S. Ct. ---, 2014 WL 2560466 (June 9, 2014), a case that posed the seemingly simple legal question of whether the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA,” also known as Superfund), 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601-9675, preempts state statues of repose. Behind that legal question, however, lies the issue of whether the plaintiffs landowners do or should have a state-law remedy for the fact that CTS Corporation contaminated their properties with toxic chemicals as part of its electronics business between 1959 and 1985.

CTS sold the property in 1987, and the plaintiffs brought suit in 2011, alleging a state-law nuisance claim. North Carolina, the state where the properties are located and where the suit was filed, has a 10-year statute of repose. CTS argued that the statute of repose barred the plaintiffs’ nuisance claims, and the U.S. Supreme Court, in what is basically a 7-2 decision with the majority opinion authored by Justice Kennedy, agreed.

CERCLA essentially allows for two parallel liability schemes when hazardous substances are released into the environment. Under CERCLA itself, four categories of “potentially responsible parties,” or PRPs, can be held responsible under federal law for the costs of cleaning up the contaminated property and resources, natural resources damages, and any necessary public health assessments. CERCLA does not provide, however, for private damages ...

The Clean Water Act at 40: Up to the Challenge of the Climate Change Era?

by Robin Kundis Craig | October 15, 2012
There is no question but that the Clean Water Act has led to enormous improvements in water quality throughout the United States. Funding for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) has largely eliminated the use of the nation's waterways for the disposal of raw sewage. Most point source discharges are now subject to permitting and technology-based and/or water-quality based effluent limitations. There is also no question that the Clean Water Act is a statute that is still evolving to address water ...

Also from Robin Kundis Craig

Robin Kundis Craig is William H. Leary Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

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