Before a Superfund settlement becomes enforceable, it must be reviewed by a federal court to confirm that it is fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA’s objectives. This judicial review is at the heart of CERCLA’s settlement process. Since Superfund settlements provide broad protection to settling parties, judicial approval provides the necessary and exclusive procedural mechanism to vouchsafe that a proposed settlement is in the interest of the public as well as all other parties.
Two recent appellate decisions underscore the central role of judicial review in Superfund settlements. In ASARCO, LLC v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, the Eighth Circuit ruled that the owner of a contaminated site which… More