Release Reporting Under CERCLA and EPCRA

Release reporting requirements are not often litigated, but a recent decision from the Eastern District of California provides explains how the release reporting requirements under CERCLA relate to the release reporting requirements under EPCRA. In United States v Gibson Wine Co., 2017 WL 1064658 (E.D Cal. 2017), EPA alleged that failure to provide notice of a release of anhydrous ammonia was a violation of both CERCLA and EPCRA (among others). Defendant moved to strike the CERCLA claim on the ground that it was redundant in light of the EPCRA claim. The district court denied the motion.

The court explained that the two notices are not redundant because they serve different purposes. CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) requires a notice to the National Response Center because of concern about the risks of industrial pollution. The goal of CERCLA is cleanup. EPCRA (the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act) requires notice to local government agencies to assure that the information is publicly available so that agencies can respond appropriately. Because the goals of the two notice are different, the court concluded that the claims were supplementary and not redundant.

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