ARTICLE: Federalism Under Siege at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal: Preemption and CERCLA after United States v. Colorado Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1994 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law
Columbia Journal of Environmental Law

ARTICLE: Federalism Under Siege at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal: Preemption and CERCLA after United States v. Colorado


19 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 327


Peter M. Manus *



I. Introduction

The relationship between state and federal agencies with interests in sites undergoing environmental response actions can be frictional, to state the matter circumspectly. 1 Feuding over where authority over a hazardous waste site divides between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and its state analogues may, indeed, be intensifying in step with our growing understanding of the need for, expense of, and difficulty in conducting the complex task that is so simply and inaptly termed a "cleanup." 2 Common complaints voiced by states include accusations that EPA's approach to a cleanup has been rendered interminable by its multi- 8540*328 layered bureaucracy, 3 discouraging quality cleanup planning and innovative remediation methodologies. 4 States also complain that the primary federal statute addressing hazardous waste cleanup, 5 as administered by EPA, relegates the state to a role that is at best duplicative of the role played by EPA and may in fact be little more than that of a powerless gadfly. 6 EPA, in turn, complains that state efforts in the federal hazardous waste cleanup process are often ill-timed and ill-executed, retarding cleanup, 7 and that unleashed exertion of state authority may directly thwart a primary goal of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 ("CERCLA"). 8 8540*329

Although the issue of state and federal roles at CERCLA sites has been addressed by Congress, EPA, and federal courts, it remains unresolved. 9 The recent decision of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth ...
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