Keep Industrial Polluters Responsible for Clean-Up!

6,625 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal

13.25% Complete

Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

Demand the EPA require industrial polluters to have enough funds to cover major spills and accidents.


The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), also known as Superfund, regulates the clean-up of hazardous waste sites. Sites that are especially hazardous are placed on the National Priorities List.

There are currently 1,170 sites on that list1.

Section 108(b) of CERCLA states that "the President shall promulgate requirements that classes of facilities establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility consistent with the degree and duration of risk associated with the production, transportation, treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous substances2."

This rule is meant to prevent companies from saddling taxpayers with the costs of clean-up after they have gone bankrupt.

In the EPA's Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking3, published Jan. 2010, certain hardrock mining facilities were joined by the electric power industry, the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry, and the chemical manufacturing industry as candidates for regulation under the provision.

On December 4, 2019, the EPA Administrator signed a proposed rule change lifting financial responsibility requirements for electric power plants and factories that manufacture products with petroleum, coal or other chemicals that contribute to pollution and greenhouse gas4.

The EPA declared that the risk posed by the production, transportation, treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous substances by these industries did not warrant financial responsibility requirements, "as modern industry practices and existing federal and state regulations are effective at preventing risk5."

The agency's Administrator at the time further said that existing monitoring and operation standards have decreased the risk in this industry to a point that if a hazardous waste cleanup is needed, the federal government will bear the cost of cleanup6.

Taxpayers should not have to pay for the unregulated greed of corporations that pollute the environment.

In issuing these rules, the EPA interprets "risk" to only refer to financial risk to the federal Superfund, excluding risks to human health and the environment, issues for which the EPA was created to address.

Sign the petition below and demand the EPA restore the  financial responsibility requirement and put the health of Americans and our environment first.

More on this issue:

  1. United States Environmental Protection Agency (8 February 2021), "Superfund: National Priorities List (NPL)."
  2. Harvard Law School, Environmental & Energy Law Program (3 November 2020), "Superfund Financial Responsibility Rules."
  3. United States Environmental Protection Agency (6 January 2010), "Identification of Additional Classes of Facilities for Development of Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA Section 108(b)."
  4. JD Supra (2 December 2020), "Electric Power/Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing/Chemical Manufacturing: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Declination to Issue CERCLA Financial Responsibility Requirements."
  5. United States Environmental Protection Agency (13 February 2020), "Proposed Action: Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA Section 108(b) For Classes of Facilities in the Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing Industry."
  6. Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (5 December 2019), "EPA: No new rules on petroleum, coal products mfg industry."
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The Petition:

Dear EPA Administrator,

The 2019 changes to the CERCLA or Superfund put Americans and the environment at risk.

As it stands now, if a power plant, coal-powered factory or chemical manufacturing facility is bankrupted by an environmental disaster, taxpayers will have to cover the cost of clean-up.

This is unacceptable.

In issuing these rules, the EPA interprets "risk" to only refer to financial risk to the federal Superfund, excluding risks to human health and the environment, issues for which the EPA was created to address.

The people have spoken. We demand you restore the financial responsibility requirement to the CERCLA or Superfund now.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: