Copyright (c) 1994 Villanova University
Villanova Environmental Law Journal
SYMPOSIUM ARTICLE: ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION LIABILITIES: AN ACCOUNTANT'S PERSPECTIVE
5 Vill. Envtl. L.J. 395
Amy A. Ripepi, C.P.A.
It is almost impossible to pick up a newspaper or magazine today without seeing an article on an environmental issue. 1 Often the articles focus on preventing environmental contamination, reducing waste or conserving natural resources. The articles also address problems related to toxic substances generated decades ago that are just now being identified as urgent, costly problems. The following figures illustrate the magnitude of these problems. First, the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has identified 27,000-30,000 potential Superfund 2 sites, 1,200 of which are on the National Priority List ("NPL"), 3 20,000 sites are under review, and 8,000 do not warrant further action. 4 Fewer than 50 sites, however, have been remediated since Superfund was enacted in 1980. 5 Second, the costs of remediating these sites will be enmormous. One estimate projects the cleanup cost of each site listed on the NPL to be $ 25 million. 6 If extrapolated against the 1,200 sites on the NPL, the total cleanup cost for past contamination at only the NPL cites could reach $ 30 billion. Another estimate puts the total cleanup cost for these 1,200 sites at approximately $ 150 billion, or $ 125 million per site. 7 The cost of cleanup becomes staggering when one considers the costs associated with the 20,000 sites still under review. Assuming that half of these 20,000 sites are comparable to the current NPL sites, the additional clean up costs could range from $ 250 billion to over $ 1 ...
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