What are PRPs liable for under CERCLA?

Section 107(a)(2)(B) of CERCLA states, in pertinent part, that PRPs shall be liable for “necessary costs of response incurred by any other person consistent with the national contingency plan (NCP).”   In order to show that the costs incurred were “necessary,” a party must show that: (1) the costs were incurred in response to a threat to human health or the environment, and (2) the costs were necessary to address the threat. 

CERCLA liability only attaches where a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance causes the incurrence of response costs.   To the extent the actions were taken for purposes other than responding to an actual and real public health threat, there is no CERCLA liability.

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