The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly referred to as Superfund, provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broad authority to clean up releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. The law identifies responsible parties for contamination of sites and compels those parties to clean up the sites. If the responsible parties cannot be found, EPA is authorized to clean up sites itself using a special trust fund called the “Superfund.”
CERCLA is primarily relevant to mining operations undertaken by the fertilizer industry. CERCLA identifies potentially responsible parties of possible polluters that may be held liable for contamination or misuse of a property or resource. Historically, fertilizer mining operations have not resulted in Superfund sites. However, the fertilizer industry is still subject to CERCLA regulation and cleanup procedures in the event a site is identified to threaten or potentially threatens public health or the environment.