UPDATE: Bill Seeks Liability Limit Under Superfund

In January 1997, the Superfund Cleanup Acceleration Act of 1997, a bill designed to limit the liability of parties that disposed minimal a-mounts of harmful waste was introduced by Senator Bob Smith (R-N.H.) and Sen. John Chaffee (R-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Based in part on the measure in-troduced in the 104th session, the act would replace joint- and several-liability at multi-party sites with an administrative allocation system to assess liability on a proportional "fair-share" basis. This measure would limit disputes over liable parties and would thus limit the a-mount of money spent on litigation.

In addition, the bill would exempt from liability generators and transporters of waste at co-disposal landfills that generally received municipal waste.

The bill also:

* requires that the selection of clean-up remedies take into account how the site will be used in the future;

* provides $60 million in new funding each year to states and local governments to redevelop brownfields and gives states primary responsibility for conducting Su-perfund cleanups; and

* reaffirms the collection of the general corporate tax and taxes on oil and chemical companies to fund the Superfund program.

The bill does not repeal the retro-active liability provision.