16 S. Ill. U. L.J. 687 (1991-1992)
Environmental Law: Does the Application of the Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine Apply to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

handle is hein.journals/siulj16 and id is 705 raw text is: ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: DOES THE
APPLICATION OF THE RESPONSIBLE
CORPORATE OFFICER DOCTRINE APPLY To
THE RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND
RECOVERY ACT?
Richard S. Porter
I. INTRODUCTION
Citizens throughout the United States have been subjected to
unprovoked attacks from a silent and often unseen enemy. The
enemy is toxic waste disposed of by American companies in a reckless
and haphazard fashion. Such attacks have occurred at Love Canal
in Niagara Falls, New York, and at Times Beach, Missouri.' Envi-
ronmental attacks such as these provoked a wide spread public
concern about toxic waste disposal in the early 1980's.2
1. The Love Canal was used by Hooker Chemical Company in the 1940's as a disposal
site for hazardous wastes. The canal was subsequently filled-in and sold to the Niagara Falls
Board of Education. A school was constructed at th edge of the canal and homes were built
on the rest of the land. A resounding occurrence of miscarriages, birth defects, and liver
disease, was reported in the area. Love Canal was eventually declared a disaster area by
President Carter.
The town of Times Beach, Missouri was entirely evacuated after a nearby horse farm was
sprayed with industrial waste which contained dioxin. After the spraying, many animals in the
area died. Though there is no evidence, as of yet, that any person was harmed by the waste
at Time Beach, and it is currently suggested that dioxin may not be as harmful as originally
believed, the government bought every home in the town.
The United States government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to clean-up these
two sites alone. Further, these two instances have provoked lawsuits amounting to billtions of
dollars. E. WILLARD MILLER & RUBY M. MILLER, ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS: Toxic WASTE
AND HAZARDOUS MATERIAL 19-22 (1991).
2. Christopher Harris et al., Criminal Liability for Violations of Federal Hazardous Waste
Law: The Knowledge of Corporations and Their Executives, 23 WAKE FOREST L. REV. 203,
205 (1988). The article discusses the knowledge required for a criminal conviction under
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). However, the article simply accepts the
assertion made in United States v. Johnson & Towers Inc., 741 F.2d 662, 669 (3rd Cir. 1984),
that the requisite mens rea for conviction under RCRA can be inferred by a corporate officers
position. The focus of this comment will be to show that the responsible corporate officer
doctrine should not be applied to RCRA by the courts without an explicit congressional
mandate to do so.

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