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“Historical pollution” in the United States may mean many things. For the purposes of the definition used in our project, the United States has a fairly evolved framework for addressing the phenomena. As a common law country, traditional and newly interpreted tort law may be applicable. So too, traditional criminal law can be and has been utilized. Before modern historical pollution legislation was enacted, legal means existed to punish historical pollution and to remediate and remove orphan dumps, related pollution and its effects—and to compensate victims. Most important now is federal (and some state) law passed specifically to address the massive historical pollution discovered several decades ago. Central is the Superfund law, which provides for rules of liability, punishment, removal, remediation, and compensation. It has had considerable success, after inefficient and expensive beginnings. Thus, U.S. laws of several kinds are relevant to the types of scenarios noted in this report. Complicating the analysis further is the need for several factual assumptions to make the scenarios realistic under U.S. law and the various interpretations of the arsenal of relevant law.
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- Historical Pollution and Criminal Liability in the United States
Joseph F. C. DiMento
- Chapter 8
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