Document Type


Publication Date



Environmental law, CERCLA, Attorney fees

Organizational Units

Sturm College of Law


Although other areas of natural resources law have been hit by hard times, the environ- mental area is burgeoning. The intricacies of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Com- pensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Super- fund), as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), ensure attorney participation. Further- more, much of the fuel that drives CERCIA lit- igation is the presumption by many clients that their attorney fees are costs that can be re- covered as response costs under section 107 of CERCLA. 42 U.S.C. S 9607 (1983). Such an assumption may be a serious and costly mistake. It is well established that the federal gov- ernment can recover its attorney fees as re- sponse costs. This conclusion is based upon section 104(b)(1) of CERCLA which provides that "the President may undertake such plan- ning, legal, fiscal, economic, engineering, ar- chitectural, and other studies or investigations as he may deem necessary or appropriate to plant and direct response actions, to recover the costs thereof and to enforce the provisions of this chapter." 42 U.S.C. � 9604(b)(1) (1988) (em- phasis added).

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the authors. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.