Cercla's Mistakes

61 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2007


The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) confounds every theory of statutory interpretation. Congress hurriedly enacted CERCLA during the lame-duck period following the election of President Reagan and a Republican Senate majority in November 1980 but before they took office in January 1981. The resulting statute has been criticized for its apparently textual mistakes, sparse legislative history, conflicting purposes, and questionable public policy. Courts routinely complain about the difficulty of interpreting CERCLA under those circumstances. This article reviews several of the interpretive challenges presented by CERCLA, and suggests some broader implications for statutory interpretation more generally.

Keywords: CERCLA, hazardous waste, interpretation, legislative history

Suggested Citation

Nagle, John Copeland, Cercla's Mistakes. William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 38, p. 1405, 1997; Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 07-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=970218

John Copeland Nagle (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics