Liability of Parent Corporations for Hazardous Waste Cleanup and Damages
19 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2016 Last revised: 4 Jan 2017
Date Written: 1986
In its haste to address the great threat to public health and welfare posed by hazardous waste disposal, Congress did not specifically state whether parent corporations of responsible parties should be brought within the purview of CERCLA. This articles shows that economic considerations, reflected in CERCLA, favor imposing liability on parent corporations of insolvent responsible parties. A rule limiting liability would frustrate the government’s enforcement efforts and afford parent corporations a “safe harbor” for conducting overly risky hazardous waste disposal activities. To effectuate the principal purposes of CERCLA–prompt and effective cleanup of unsafe disposal sites and imposition of liability upon all responsible parties–courts should pierce the corporate veils of insolvent subsidiaries. Federal common law principles empower courts to impose liability upon parent corporations in order to implement fully Congress’s manifest intent and purpose.
Keywords: Environmental Law, CERCLA, Corporate law, Parent Corporation Liability
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