Fair Share Liability Allocations and Protections
Creates exceptions to liability for response costs at NPL-listed facilities for certain:
(1) home owners or renters, small businesses, or small nonprofit organizations with respect to certain arrangements for, or transport of, municipal solid waste (MSW) or sewage sludge;
(2) de micromis contributors; and
(3) small businesses.
Establishes limitations to liability for certain codisposal landfills (certain MSW or sewage sludge landfills that may have received hazardous waste and that contain predominately MSW or sewage sludge transported from outside the facility).
Provides for settlements with certain parties whose liability is based on arrangement, transport, or acceptance provisions with respect to MSW or sewage sludge at NPL facilities.
Absolves persons (other than owners or operators) who arranged for the recycling of, or transported, recyclable material from liability for environmental response actions. Excludes from the definition of "recyclable material" certain shipping containers having hazardous substances and any material containing polychlorinated biphenyls in excess of 50 parts per million or any new Federal standard.
Deems transactions involving scrap paper, plastic, glass, textiles, or rubber (other than whole tires) to be arranging for recycling if the person who arranged the transaction demonstrates that the following criteria were met:
(1) the recyclable material met a commercial specification grade and a market existed for the material;
(2) a substantial portion of the material was made available for use as a feedstock for the manufacture of a new saleable product;
(3) the material (or product to be made from the material) could have been a replacement for a virgin raw material; and
(4) with respect to transactions occurring 90 days after this Act's enactment, the person exercised reasonable care to determine that the facility where the material would be managed by another was in compliance with Federal, State, or local environmental laws or regulations.
Deems transactions involving scrap metal to be arranging for recycling if the person who arranged the transaction demonstrates that: (1) the criteria for scrap materials were met; (2) he or she complied with applicable standards regarding activities associated with the recycling of scrap metals; and (3) the scrap metal was not melted prior to the transaction.
Deems transactions involving spent lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, or other batteries to be arranging for recycling if the person involved demonstrates that: (1) the criteria for scrap materials were met; and (2) he or she complied with applicable Federal environmental regulations or standards regarding such batteries.
Makes the exemptions from liability under this Act inapplicable if the person:
(1) had an objectively reasonable basis to believe at the time of the recycling transaction that the recyclable material would not be recycled or would be burned as fuel or for energy recovery or incineration or that the consuming facility was not in compliance with Federal, State, or local environmental laws or regulations;
(2) had reason to believe that hazardous substances had been added to the material for purposes other than processing for recycling; or
(3) failed to exercise reasonable care with respect to the management of the material.
Considers transactions involving recyclable material that consists of used oil to be arranging for recycling if the person involved did not mix such material with a hazardous substance following the removal of the oil from service and demonstrates that the material was sent to a facility that recycled used oil by using it as a feedstock for the manufacture of a new saleable product or:
(1) demonstrates that the material (or product to be made from the material) could have been a replacement for a virgin raw material;
(2) demonstrates that, with respect to transactions occurring 90 days after this Act's enactment, the person exercised reasonable care to determine that the facility where the material would be managed by another was in compliance with Federal, State, or local environmental laws or regulations; and
(3) was in compliance with regulations or standards for the management of used oil under the Solid Waste Disposal Act.
Exempts from liability certain railroad owners or operators of spur tracks whose tracks meet specified conditions and who did not cause or contribute to the release concerned. Limits liability for certain organizations that hold title to a vessel or facility as a result of a charitable gift.
Adds to the list of parties eligible for expedited final settlements certain persons, small businesses, or municipalities that demonstrate an inability or limited ability to pay response costs.
Revises conditions of eligibility for such settlements for de minimis parties.
Requires the President to initiate an impartial fair share allocation, conducted by a neutral third party at NPL facilities if:
(1) there is more than one potentially responsible party (PRP) that is not eligible for specified exemptions or limitations to liability, eligible for an expedited final settlement, or insolvent, bankrupt, or defunct; and
(2) at least one of the PRPs agrees to bear the costs of the allocation under conditions prescribed by the President. Requires the allocator to estimate the fair share of each PRP using specified equitable factors.
Includes within such allocations response costs at NPL facilities that are not addressed in an administrative settlement or settlement or judgment approved by a Federal district court.
Authorizes a party to settle any liability to the United States for response costs for its allocated fair share.
Authorizes the President and the Attorney General to jointly reject an allocation report under certain conditions.
Allocates shares attributable to insolvent, defunct, or bankrupt parties, or unattributable shares, among responsible parties, except certain parties with limited liability described by this Act.
Sets forth provisions regarding orphan shares.
Stays all contribution and cost recovery actions against parties eligible for expedited final settlements and those eligible for settlements based on certain limitations on liability with respect to the arrangement of MSW and sewage sludge until the Administrator offers a settlement. Suspends any statute of limitations applicable to such actions during the period that a stay is in effect.
Bars the President from issuing orders with respect to abatement actions at a facility to any non-Federal party or commencing or maintaining any new or existing action to recover response costs if he fails to fund a statutory orphan share, reimburse a party, or include an orphan share estimate in any settlement when required to do so.
Declares that settlements under allocation provisions, those regarding expedited final settlements, and settlements for parties with limited liability with respect to the arrangement of MSW and sewage sludge shall provide complete protection from all claims for contribution or cost recovery for response costs addressed in the settlement.
Authorizes a party to retain the right to seek cost recovery or contribution for costs outside the scope of an allocation except from certain parties with limited liability described by this Act or those who have settled.
Makes persons who commence contribution actions against parties who are not liable or who have resolved liability liable to such persons for all reasonable costs of defending the action.
Provides that parties that settle liability under allocation provisions or provisions regarding expedited final settlements or limited liability with respect to the arrangement of MSW or sewage sludge waive rights to seek cost recovery or contribution.
Authorizes the President, as a condition of a settlement under allocation provisions or those regarding limited liability for the arrangement of MSW or sewage sludge, to require parties to conduct a response action. Requires the President to reimburse such parties for costs incurred in excess of a party's allocated fair share.
Bars a court from approving any settlement under this Act unless it includes an estimate of the statutory orphan share that is fair, reasonable, and consistent.