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8 Risk 249 (1997)
Reassessing the History of U.S. Hazardous Waste Disposal Policy - Problem Definition, Expert Knowledge and Agenda-Setting

handle is hein.journals/risk8 and id is 259 raw text is: Reassessing the History of U.S. Hazardous
Waste Disposal Policy - Problem Definition,
Expert Knowledge and Agenda-Setting
Halina Szejnwald Brown, Brian J. Cook, Robert Krueger &
Jo Anne Shatkin*
Congress designed the strict joint and several liability provision of
the Comprehensive 'Environmental Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund)1 to provide incentives
for private cleanups at Superfund sites and to deter improper disposal
of hazardous wastes. The provision also generated an explosion of
litigation as government and private sectors, including the insurance
industry, confronted the potentially massive costs of assessing and
cleaning up hazardous waste disposal sites and restoring contaminated
groundwater. The latter, in turn gave rise to efforts to reform the
liability provision in CERCLA.
In the midst of confrontations and efforts to reassign blame,
opposing parties have nevertheless developed a consensus that the worst
sites were created by mostly legal activities that, given the state of the
scientific knowledge and technological development during three post-
war decades of rapid U.S. economic growth, the magnitude of
consequences for groundwater could hardly have been foreseen.
Students of environmental policy have generally assumed that the
decade of the 1970's marked a turning point in the development of
Dr. Brown, Professor of Environmental Health and Director, Environmental
School, Clark University, holds a Ph.D. (Chemistry) from New York University.
Email: hbrown@clark.edu. Dr. Cook, Assoc. Professor of Government, Clark
University, holds a Ph.D. (Political Science) from the University of Maryland,
College Park. Mr. Krueger, doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Geography,
Clark University, holds a B.S. (political science) Oklahoma State University, Still
Water, and M.S.L. from Vermont Law School. Dr. Shatkin, Senior Scientist at
Menzie-Cura Associates, an environmental consulting firm, holds a Ph.D.
(Environment, Technology and Society) from Clark University.
I   Pub. L. 96-510, Dec. 11, 1980, 94 Stat. 2767, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et
seq. (1994).

8 Risk. Health, Safety-& Environment 249 [Summer 1997]

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