The Voluntary PRP Developer: Risk, Reward and Challenge

March 26, 2007
Arnon E. Garonzik and Michael C. Gross
The Legal Intelligencer

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Cleanup Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), a potentially responsible party (PRP) is broadly defined to include any individuals, companies or other parties that are potentially liable for payment of Superfund cleanup costs. Under CERCLA's draconian liability scheme, PRPs are jointly and severally liable for all costs associated with remediating Superfund sites.

The prospect of becoming a PRP is a shuddering concept, and participants in transactions involving contaminated property have historically gone to great lengths to insulate themselves from such liability, especially where an acquiring party has no responsibility for the disposal of hazardous substances at the property. But what happens when a party voluntarily assumes PRP status with the goal of efficiently undertaking the cleanup of a Superfund site?

This article will address the challenges faced by entities seeking to remediate and redevelop Superfund sites and the lessons that can be learned from the experience of site owners, developers, consultants and their counsel.

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