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MODEL CERCLA SECTION 122(h)(1) AGREEMENT
FOR RECOVERY OF PAST RESPONSE COSTS
This model and any internal procedures adopted for its implementation and use are intended as guidance for employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They do not constitute rulemaking by the Agency and may not be relied upon to create a right or a benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any person. The Agency may take action at variance with this model or its internal implementing procedures.
FOR RECOVERY OF PAST RESPONSE COSTS
III. PARTIES BOUND
XIV. PUBLIC COMMENT
XV. EFFECTIVE DATE
IN THE MATTER OF: ) AGREEMENT FOR RECOVERY ) OF PAST RESPONSE COSTS [Site Name] ) [City, County, State] ) U.S. EPA Region ____ ) CERCLA Docket No. ____ [Names of Settling Parties] ) SETTLING PARTIES ) PROCEEDING UNDER SECTION ) 122(h)(1) OF CERCLA ) 42 U.S.C. Section 9622(h)(1)
1. This Agreement is entered into pursuant to the authority vested in the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") by Section 122(h)(1) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended ("CERCLA"), 42 U.S.C. Section 6922(h)(1), which authority has been delegated to the Regional Administrators of the EPA by EPA Delegation No. 14-14-D. [NOTE: Also reference any internal Regional redelegations of authority under 14-14-D.]
2. This Agreement is made and entered into by EPA and the [insert names or reference attached appendix listing settling parties] ("Settling Parties"). Each Settling Party consents to and will not contest EPA's jurisdiction to enter into this Agreement or to implement or enforce its terms.
3. This Agreement concerns the [insert Site name] ("Site") located in [insert Site location]. EPA alleges that the Site is a "facility" as defined by Section 101(9) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Section 9601(9).
4. In response to the release or threatened release of hazardous substances at or from the Site, EPA undertook response actions at the Site pursuant to Section 104 of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Section 9604. [NOTE: A brief description of the release or threatened release and of the response actions undertaken may be included.]
5. In performing this response action, EPA incurred response costs at or in connection with the Site.
6. EPA alleges that Settling Parties are responsible parties pursuant to Section 107(a) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Section 9607(a), and are jointly and severally liable for response costs incurred at or in connection with the Site.
[NOTE: If Attorney General approval is not required for this settlement because total past and projected response costs of the United States at the site are not expected to exceed $500,000, excluding interest, insert the following paragraph and renumber all subsequent paragraphs.]
[__. The Regional Administrator of EPA Region , or his/her delegatee, has determined that the total past and projected response costs of the United States at or in connection with the Site will not exceed $500,000, excluding interest.]
7. EPA and Settling Parties desire to resolve Settling Parties' alleged civil liability for Past Response Costs without litigation and without the admission or adjudication of any issue of fact or law.
8. This Agreement shall be binding upon EPA and upon Settling Parties and their [heirs], successors and assigns. Any change in ownership or corporate or other legal status of a Settling Party, including but not limited to, any transfer of assets or real or personal property, shall in no way alter such Settling Party's responsibilities under this Agreement. Each signatory to this Agreement certifies that he or she is authorized to enter into the terms and conditions of this Agreement and to bind legally the party represented by him or her.
9. Unless otherwise expressly provided herein, terms used in this Agreement which are defined in CERCLA or in regulations promulgated under CERCLA shall have the meaning assigned to them in CERCLA or in such regulations. Whenever terms listed below are used in this Agreement or in any appendix attached hereto, the following definitions shall apply:
a. "CERCLA" shall mean the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 9601, et seq.
b. "Agreement" shall mean this Agreement and any attached appendices. In the event of conflict between this Agreement and any appendix, the Agreement shall control.
c. "Day" shall mean a calendar day. In computing any period of time under this Agreement, where the last day would fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, the period shall run until the close of business of the next working day.
d. "EPA" shall mean the United States Environmental Protection Agency and any successor departments, agencies or instrumentalities of the United States.
e. "Interest" shall mean interest at the current rate specified for interest on investments of the Hazardous Substance Superfund established by 26 U.S.C. Section 9507, compounded annually on October 1 of each year, in accordance with 42 U.S.C. Section 9607(a).1
f. "Paragraph" shall mean a portion of this Agreement identified by an arabic numeral or a lower case letter.
g. "Parties" shall mean EPA and the Settling Parties.
h. "Past Response Costs" shall mean all costs, including but not limited to direct and indirect costs, that EPA or the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of EPA has paid at or in connection with the Site through [insert date], plus accrued Interest on all such costs through such date.2
i. "Section" shall mean a portion of this Agreement identified by a roman numeral.
j. "Settling Parties" shall mean [insert names of settling parties, or if very numerous, "those parties identified in Appendix __."]
k. "Site" shall mean the Superfund site, encompassing approximately acres, located at [insert address or description of location] in [insert City, County, State], and [insert either "depicted more clearly on the map included in Appendix __" or "designated by the following property description: ____________."]
l. "United States" shall mean the United States of America, including it departments, agencies and instrumentalities.
10. Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Settling Parties shall pay to the EPA Hazardous Substance Superfund $______ in reimbursement of Past Response Costs, plus an additional sum for Interest on that amount calculated from the date set forth in the definition of Past Response Costs through the date of payment.3
11. Payments shall be made by certified or cashier's check made payable to "EPA Hazardous Substance Superfund." Each check shall reference the name and address of the party making payment, the Site name, the EPA Region and Site/Spill ID Number ______ [insert 4-digit number, first 2 numbers represent the Region (01-10), second 2 numbers represent the Region's Site/Spill Identification number], and the EPA docket number for this action, and shall be sent to:
[Insert Regional Superfund lockbox number and address]
12. At the time of payment, each Settling Party shall send notice that such payment has been made to:
[Insert name and address of Regional Attorney and/or Remedial Project Manager]
13. In the event that any payment required by Paragraph 10 is not made when due, Interest shall continue to accrue on the unpaid balance through the date of payment.
14. If any amounts due to EPA under Paragraph 10 are not paid by the required date, Settling Parties shall pay to EPA, as a stipulated penalty, in addition to the Interest required by Paragraph 13, $____ per violation per day that such payment is late.
[NOTE: If the Agreement includes any non-payment obligations for which a stipulated penalty is due, insert, "If Settling Parties do not comply with [reference sections containing non-payment obligations], Settling Parties shall pay to EPA, as a stipulated penalty, $____ per violation per day of such noncompliance." Escalating penalty payment schedules may be used for payment or non-payment obligations.]
15. Stipulated penalties are due and payable within 30 days of the date of demand for payment of the penalties. All payments to EPA under this Paragraph shall be identified as "stipulated penalties" and shall made in accordance with Paragraphs 11 and 12.
16. Penalties shall accrue as provided above regardless of whether EPA has notified the Settling Parties of the violation or made a demand for payment, but need only be paid upon demand. All penalties shall begin to accrue on the day after performance is due, or the day a violation occurs, and shall continue to accrue through the final day of correction of the noncompliance or completion of the activity. Nothing herein shall prevent the simultaneous accrual of separate penalties for separate violations of this Agreement.
17. In addition to the Interest and Stipulated Penalty payments required by this Section and any other remedies or sanctions available to EPA by virtue of Settling Parties' failure to comply with the requirements of this Agreement, any Settling Party who fails or refuses to comply with any term or condition of this Agreement shall be subject to enforcement action pursuant to Section 122(h)(3) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Section 9622(h)(3). If the United States, on behalf of EPA, brings an action to enforce this Agreement, Settling Parties shall reimburse the United States for all costs of such action, including but not limited to costs of attorney time.
18. The obligations of Settling Parties to pay amounts owed to EPA under this Agreement are joint and several. In the event of the failure of any one or more Settling Parties to make the payments required under this Agreement, the remaining Settling Parties shall be responsible for such payments.
19. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, EPA may, in its unreviewable discretion, waive payment of any portion of the stipulated penalties that have accrued pursuant to this Agreement.
20. Except as specifically provided in Paragraph 21 (Reservations of Rights by EPA), EPA covenants not to sue Settling Parties pursuant to Section 107(a) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Section 9607(a), to recover Past Response Costs. This covenant shall take effect upon receipt by EPA of all amounts required by Section V (Reimbursement of Response Costs) and Section VI, Paragraphs 13 (Interest on Late Payments) and 14 (Stipulated Penalty for Late Payment). This covenant not to sue is conditioned upon the satisfactory performance by Settling Parties of their obligations under this Agreement. This covenant not to sue extends only to Settling Parties and does not extend to any other person.
21. The covenant not to sue by EPA set forth in Paragraph 20 does not pertain to any matters other than those expressly identified therein. EPA reserves, and this Agreement is without prejudice to, all rights against Settling Parties with respect to all other matters, including but not limited to:
a. liability for failure of Settling Parties to meet a requirement of this Agreement;
b. liability for costs incurred or to be incurred by the United States that are not within the definition of Past Response Costs;
c. liability for injunctive relief or administrative order enforcement under Section 106 of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Section 9606;
d. criminal liability; and
e. liability for damages for injury to, destruction of, or loss of natural resources, and for the costs of any natural resource damage assessments.
22. Nothing in this Agreement is intended to be nor shall it be construed as a release, covenant not to sue, or compromise of any claim or cause of action, administrative or judicial, civil or criminal, past or future, in law or in equity, which the United States may have against any person, firm, corporation or other entity not a signatory to this Agreement.
23. Settling Parties agree not to assert any claims or causes of action against the United States, or its contractors or employees, with respect to Past Response Costs or this Agreement, including but not limited to:
a. any direct or indirect claim for reimbursement from the EPA Hazardous Substance Superfund established by 26 U.S.C. Section 9507, based on Sections 106(b)(2), 107, 111, 112, or 113 of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Sections 9606(b)(2), 9607, 9611, 9612, or 9613, or any other provision of law;
b. any claims arising out of the response actions at the Site for which the Past Response Costs were incurred; and
c. any claim against the United States pursuant to Sections 107 and 113 of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Sections 9607 and 9613, relating to Past Response Costs.4
24. Nothing in this Agreement shall be deemed to constitute approval or preauthorization of a claim within the meaning of Section 111 of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Section 9611, or 40 C.F.R. 300.700(d).
25. Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to create any rights in, or grant any cause of action to, any person not a Party to this Agreement. EPA and Settling Parties each reserve any and all rights (including, but not limited to, any right to contribution), defenses, claims, demands, and causes of action which each Party may have with respect to any matter, transaction, or occurrence relating in any way to the Site against any person not a Party hereto.
26. EPA and Settling Parties agree that the actions undertaken by Settling Parties in accordance with this Agreement do not constitute an admission of any liability by any Settling Party. Settling Parties do not admit, and retain the right to controvert in any subsequent proceedings other than proceedings to implement or enforce this Agreement, the validity of the facts or allegations contained in Section II of this Agreement.
27. The Parties agree that Settling Parties are entitled, as of the effective date of this Agreement, to protection from contribution actions or claims as provided by Sections 113(f)(2) and 122(h)(4) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Sections 9613(f)(2) and 9622(h)(4), for "matters addressed" in this Agreement. The "matters addressed" in this Agreement are Past Response Costs.
28. Each Settling Party agrees that with respect to any suit or claim for contribution brought by it for matters related to this Agreement, it will notify EPA in writing no later than 60 days prior to the initiation of such suit or claim. Each Settling Party also agrees that, with respect to any suit or claim for contribution brought against it for matters related to this Agreement, it will notify EPA in writing within 10 days of service of the complaint or claim upon it. In addition, each Settling Party shall notify EPA within 10 days of service or receipt of any Motion for Summary Judgment and within 10 days of receipt of any order from a court setting a case for trial, for matters related to this Agreement.
29. In any subsequent administrative or judicial proceeding initiated by EPA, or by the United States on behalf of EPA, for injunctive relief, recovery of response costs, or other appropriate relief relating to the Site, Settling Parties shall not assert, and may not maintain, any defense or claim based upon the principles of waiver, res judicata, collateral estoppel, issue preclusion, claim-splitting, or other defenses based upon any contention that the claims raised in the subsequent proceeding were or should have been brought in the instant case; provided, however, that nothing in this Paragraph affects the enforceability of the covenant not to sue by EPA set forth in Paragraph 20.
30. Until __ years after the effective date of this Agreement, each Settling Party shall preserve and retain all records and documents now in its possession or control, or which come into its possession or control, that relate in any manner to response actions taken at the Site or to the liability of any person for response actions conducted and to be conducted at the Site, regardless of any corporate retention policy to the contrary.
31. After the conclusion of the document retention period in the preceding paragraph, Settling Parties shall notify EPA at least 90 days prior to the destruction of any such records or documents, and, upon request by EPA, Settling Parties shall deliver any such records or documents to EPA. Settling Parties may assert that certain documents, records, or other information are privileged under the attorney-client privilege or any other privilege recognized by federal law. If Settling Parties assert such a privilege, they shall provide EPA with the following: 1) the title of the document, record, or information; 2) the date of the document, record, or information; 3) the name and title of the author of the document, record, or information; 4) the name and title of each addressee and recipient; 5) a description of the subject of the document, record, or information; and 6) the privilege asserted. However, no documents, reports, or other information created or generated pursuant to the requirements of this or any other judicial or administrative settlement with the United States shall be withheld on the grounds that they are privileged. If a claim of privilege applies only to a portion of a document, the document shall be provided to EPA in redacted form to mask the privileged information only. Settling Parties shall retain all records and documents that they claim to be privileged until EPA has had a reasonable opportunity to dispute the privilege claim and any such dispute has been resolved in Settling Parties' favor.
32. By signing this Agreement, each Settling Party certifies individually that, to the best of its knowledge and belief, it has:
a. conducted a thorough, comprehensive, good faith search for documents, and has fully and accurately disclosed to EPA, all information currently in its possession, or in the possession of its officers, directors, employees, contractors or agents, which relates in any way to the ownership, operation or control of the Site, or to the ownership, possession, generation, treatment, transportation, storage or disposal of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant at or in connection with the Site;
b. not altered, mutilated, discarded, destroyed or otherwise disposed of any records, documents or other information relating to its potential liability regarding the Site, after notification of potential liability or the filing of a suit against the Settling Party regarding the Site; and
c. fully complied with any and all EPA requests for information regarding the Site pursuant to Sections 104(e) and 122(e) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Sections 9604(e) and 9622(e) [insert, if applicable, ", and Section 3007 of the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 6927."]
33. Whenever, under the terms of this Agreement, notice is required to be given or a document is required to be sent by one Party to another, it shall be directed to the individuals at the addresses specified below, unless those individuals or their successors give notice of a change to the other Parties in writing. Written notice as specified herein shall constitute complete satisfaction of any written notice requirement of this Agreement with respect to EPA and Settling Parties.
As to EPA:
[Insert names and addresses of EPA Regional contacts, usually the ORC attorney and the RPM or Project Coordinator]
As to Settling Parties:
[Insert name of one person who will serve as the contact for all Settling Parties]
34. This Agreement and its appendices constitute the final, complete and exclusive agreement and understanding among the Parties with respect to the settlement embodied in this Agreement. The Parties acknowledge that there are no representations, agreements or understandings relating to the settlement other than those expressly contained in this Agreement. [The following appendices are attached to and incorporated into this Agreement: "Appendix A is ______________; etc."]
35. This Agreement shall be subject to a public comment period of not less than 30 days pursuant to Section 122(i) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Section 9622(i). In accordance with Section 122(i)(3) of CERCLA, EPA may modify or withdraw its consent to this Agreement if comments received disclose facts or considerations which indicate that this Agreement is inappropriate, improper or inadequate.
[NOTE: This section should be used if Attorney General approval is required for this settlement because total past and projected response costs at the site will exceed $500,000, excluding interest, and the agreement compromises a claim (i.e., recovers less than 100% of past costs, including accrued interest). If Attorney General approval is required, the Region should consult with DOJ during the negotiations process and should obtain written DOJ approval of the settlement before publishing notice of the proposed agreement in the Federal Register pursuant to Section 122(i) of CERCLA. The Region should discuss with DOJ any significant comments received during the public comment period. If the Region believes that the agreement should be modified based upon public comment, the Region should discuss with the DOJ attorney assigned to the case whether the proposed change will require formal re-approval by DOJ. If this section is used, renumber the Effective Date section and paragraph.]
[[__. The Attorney General or [his/her] designee has approved the settlement embodied in this Agreement in accordance with Section 122(h)(1) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. Section 9622(h)(1).]]
36. The effective date of this Agreement shall be the date upon which EPA issues written notice that the public comment period pursuant to Paragraph 35 has closed and that comments received, if any, do not require modification of or EPA withdrawal from this Agreement.
IT IS SO AGREED: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency By: [Name] [Date] Regional Administrator, Region __[NOTE: If the Regional Administrator has redelegated authority to enter into Section 122(h) settlements, insert name and title of delegated official.]
THE UNDERSIGNED SETTLING PARTY enters into this Agreement in the matter of [insert U.S. EPA docket number], relating to the [insert site name and location]: FOR SETTLING PARTY: ______________________ [Name] ______________________ [Address] By: _______________________ ___________________ [Name] [Date]Footnotes:
|Last Updated: 12/17/2009|