ECRA: Triggering the Internalization of the Social Costs of Hazardous Wastes

Monday, January 1st, 1990 at 12:00 am by Charles J. Walsh & Philip A. Bramson
Charles J. Walsh & Philip A. Bramson, ECRA: Triggering the Internalization of the Social Costs of Hazardous Wastes, 1990 Colum. Bus. L. Rev. 415

CRA is particularly more successful in achieving environmental objectives than federal and other state regulation because it compels private parties to internalize more of the social costs of pollution, a frequently expressed goal in environmental legislation. This point is illustrated when ECRA is examined along with various other pieces of federal and state legislation dealing with the problem. Emphasis here is paid to four major aspects of these enactments as compared to ECRA: the reporting requirements of these statutes and the events which trigger them; the extent to which these statutes promote an inspection for contamination; the tendency of these statutes to force internalization of pollution’s costs; and the use of market pressures to enforce statutory compliance. While ECRA achieves its important objective of pollution cost internalization, some residual ambiguities regarding the imposition of liability on responsible parties other than the immediate owner/operator, the scope of transactions covered under the statute, and the extent of the cleanup required, hamper its efficient operation. Simplification of ECRA would facilitate internalization and would permit a more cost efficient use of scarce regulatory resources overseeing an essentially market driven compliance scheme.

Author Information

Charles J. Walsh, Partner with the firm of Sills Cummis Zuckerman Radin Tischman Epstein & Gross, P.A., Newark, New Jersey. B.S. 1964 and M.A. 1972 (Economics), Fordham University; LL.B. 1967, University of Pennsylvania. Philip A. Bramson, Associate with the firm of Sills Cummis Zuckerman Radin Tischman Epstein & Gross, P.A., Newark, New Jersey. B.A. 1975, Colgate University; J.D. 1989, Rutgers University.