Unlike most environmental statutes, CERCLA requires a lengthy period of labor-intensive activity to achieve its clean-up goals. This aspect of the Superfund program does not receive sufficient attention in policy and legal analyses of CERCLA, nor during site-specific remedy selection decisionmaking. The risks of the remediation period-to workers, to site neighbors, and to the natural environment-are substantial, as this Article illustrates. However, the confusing and sometimes dismissive treatment of remediation risk in the EPA 's detailed guidance for Superfund decisionmakers invites the neglect of the short-term effectiveness criterion in the remedy selection process. A study of remedy selection documents in one EPA region suggests that this invitation has been understood and accepted by EPA officials. Remediation risk appears to play a very minor role in the site-specific decisions examined in this Article; indeed, in some cases the relevant managers seemed not to understand that remediation risk had any role to play at all. Since a more thorough consideration of remediation risk would probably suggest a different outcome in at least some site-specific remedy selection decisions, the EPA should implement administrative reforms to ensure the consistent and adequate inclusion of remediation risk criteria in the Superfund remedy selection process.
John S. Applegate & Steven M. Wesloh,
Short Changing Short-Term Risk: A Study of Superfund Remedy Selection,
Yale J. on Reg.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjreg/vol15/iss2/3