Home > 107th Congressional Bills > H.R. 1831 (rh) To provide certain relief for small businesses from liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. [Reported in House] ...

H.R. 1831 (rh) To provide certain relief for small businesses from liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. [Reported in House] ...


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107th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1831


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             June 13, 2001

 Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and 
                              Public Works

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
To provide certain relief for small businesses from liability under the 
 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act 
                                of 1980.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Small Business Liability Protection 
Act''.

SEC. 2. SMALL BUSINESS LIABILITY RELIEF.

    (a) Exemptions.--Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental 
Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. 9607) is 
amended by adding at the end the following new subsections:
    ``(o) De Micromis Exemption.--
            ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), a 
        person shall not be liable, with respect to response costs at a 
        facility on the National Priorities List, under this Act if 
        liability is based solely on paragraph (3) or (4) of subsection 
        (a), and the person, except as provided in paragraph (4) of 
        this subsection, can demonstrate that--
                    ``(A) the total amount of the material containing 
                hazardous substances that the person arranged for 
                disposal or treatment of, arranged with a transporter 
                for transport for disposal or treatment of, or accepted 
                for transport for disposal or treatment, at the 
                facility was less than 110 gallons of liquid materials 
                or less than 200 pounds of solid materials (or such 
                greater or lesser amounts as the Administrator may 
                determine by regulation); and
                    ``(B) all or part of the disposal, treatment, or 
                transport concerned occurred before April 1, 2001.
            ``(2) Exceptions.--Paragraph (1) shall not apply in a case 
        in which--
                    ``(A) the President determines that--
                            ``(i) the materials containing hazardous 
                        substances referred to in paragraph (1) have 
                        contributed significantly or could contribute 
                        significantly, either individually or in the 
                        aggregate, to the cost of the response action 
                        or natural resource restoration with respect to 
                        the facility; or
                            ``(ii) the person has failed to comply with 
                        an information request or administrative 
                        subpoena issued by the President under this Act 
                        or has impeded or is impeding, through action 
                        or inaction, the performance of a response 
                        action or natural resource restoration with 
                        respect to the facility; or
                    ``(B) a person has been convicted of a criminal 
                violation for the conduct to which the exemption would 
                apply, and that conviction has not been vitiated on 
                appeal or otherwise.
            ``(3) No judicial review.--A determination by the President 
        under paragraph (2)(A) shall not be subject to judicial review.
            ``(4) Nongovernmental third-party contribution actions.--In 
        the case of a contribution action, with respect to response 
        costs at a facility on the National Priorities List, brought by 
        a party, other than a Federal, State, or local government, 
        under this Act, the burden of proof shall be on the party 
        bringing the action to demonstrate that the conditions 
        described in paragraph (1)(A) and (B) of this subsection are 
        not met.
    ``(p) Municipal Solid Waste Exemption.--
            ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2) of 
        this subsection, a person shall not be liable, with respect to 
        response costs at a facility on the National Priorities List, 
        under paragraph (3) of subsection (a) for municipal solid waste 
        disposed of at a facility if the person, except as provided in 
        paragraph (5) of this subsection, can demonstrate that the 
        person is--
                    ``(A) an owner, operator, or lessee of residential 
                property from which all of the person's municipal solid 
                waste was generated with respect to the facility;
                    ``(B) a business entity (including a parent, 
                subsidiary, or affiliate of the entity) that, during 
                its 3 taxable years preceding the date of transmittal 
                of written notification from the President of its 
                potential liability under this section, employed on 
                average not more than 100 full-time individuals, or the 
                equivalent thereof, and that is a small business 
                concern (within the meaning of the Small Business Act 
                (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.)) from which was generated all 
                of the municipal solid waste attributable to the entity 
                with respect to the facility; or
                    ``(C) an organization described in section 
                501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and 
                exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code that, 
                during its taxable year preceding the date of 
                transmittal of written notification from the President 
                of its potential liability under this section, employed 
                not more than 100 paid individuals at the location from 
                which was generated all of the municipal solid waste 
                attributable to the organization with respect to the 
                facility.
        For purposes of this subsection, the term `affiliate' has the 
        meaning of that term provided in the definition of `small 
        business concern' in regulations promulgated by the Small 
        Business Administration in accordance with the Small Business 
        Act (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.).
            ``(2) Exception.--Paragraph (1) shall not apply in a case 
        in which the President determines that--
                    ``(A) the municipal solid waste referred to in 
                paragraph (1) has contributed significantly or could 
                contribute significantly, either individually or in the 
                aggregate, to the cost of the response action or 
                natural resource restoration with respect to the 
                facility;
                    ``(B) the person has failed to comply with an 
                information request or administrative subpoena issued 
                by the President under this Act; or
                    ``(C) the person has impeded or is impeding, 
                through action or inaction, the performance of a 
                response action or natural resource restoration with 
                respect to the facility.
            ``(3) No judicial review.--A determination by the President 
        under paragraph (2) shall not be subject to judicial review.
            ``(4) Definition of municipal solid waste.--
                    ``(A) In general.--For purposes of this subsection, 
                the term `municipal solid waste' means waste material--
                            ``(i) generated by a household (including a 
                        single or multifamily residence); and
                            ``(ii) generated by a commercial, 
                        industrial, or institutional entity, to the 
                        extent that the waste material--
                                    ``(I) is essentially the same as 
                                waste normally generated by a 
                                household;
                                    ``(II) is collected and disposed of 
                                with other municipal solid waste as 
                                part of normal municipal solid waste 
                                collection services; and
                                    ``(III) contains a relative 
                                quantity of hazardous substances no 
                                greater than the relative quantity of 
                                hazardous substances contained in waste 
                                material generated by a typical single-
                                family household.
                    ``(B) Examples.--Examples of municipal solid waste 
                under subparagraph (A) include food and yard waste, 
                paper, clothing, appliances, consumer product 
                packaging, disposable diapers, office supplies, 
                cosmetics, glass and metal food containers, elementary 
                or secondary school science laboratory waste, and 
                household hazardous waste.
                    ``(C) Exclusions.--The term `municipal solid waste' 
                does not include--
                            ``(i) combustion ash generated by resource 
                        recovery facilities or municipal incinerators; 
                        or
                            ``(ii) waste material from manufacturing or 
                        processing operations (including pollution 
                        control operations) that is not essentially the 
                        same as waste normally generated by households.
            ``(5) Burden of proof.--In the case of an action, with 
        respect to response costs at a facility on the National 
        Priorities List, brought under section 107 or 113 by--
                    ``(A) a party, other than a Federal, State, or 
                local government, with respect to municipal solid waste 
                disposed of on or after April 1, 2001; or
                    ``(B) any party with respect to municipal solid 
                waste disposed of before April 1, 2001, the burden of 
                proof shall be on the party bringing the action to 
                demonstrate that the conditions described in paragraphs 
                (1) and (4) for exemption for entities and 
                organizations described in paragraph (1)(B) and (C) are 
                not met.
            ``(6) Certain actions not permitted.--No contribution 
        action may be brought by a party, other than a Federal, State, 
        or local government, under this Act with respect to 
        circumstances described in paragraph (1)(A).
            ``(7) Costs and fees.--A nongovernmental entity that 
        commences, after the date of the enactment of this subsection, 
        a contribution action under this Act shall be liable to the 
        defendant for all reasonable costs of defending the action, 
        including all reasonable attorney's fees and expert witness 
        fees, if the defendant is not liable for contribution based on 
        an exemption under this subsection or subsection (o).''.
    (b) Expedited Settlement.--Section 122(g) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 
9622(g)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
            ``(7) Reduction in settlement amount based on limited 
        ability to pay.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The condition for settlement 
                under this paragraph is that the potentially 
                responsible party is a person who demonstrates to the 
                President an inability or a limited ability to pay 
                response costs.
                    ``(B) Considerations.--In determining whether or 
                not a demonstration is made under subparagraph (A) by a 
                person, the President shall take into consideration the 
                ability of the person to pay response costs and still 
                maintain its basic business operations, including 
                consideration of the overall financial condition of the 
                person and demonstrable constraints on the ability of 
                the person to raise revenues.
                    ``(C) Information.--A person requesting settlement 
                under this paragraph shall promptly provide the 
                President with all relevant information needed to 
                determine the ability of the person to pay response 
                costs.
                    ``(D) Alternative payment methods.--If the 
                President determines that a person is unable to pay its 
                total settlement amount at the time of settlement, the 
                President shall consider such alternative payment 
                methods as may be necessary or appropriate.
            ``(8) Additional conditions for expedited settlements.--
                    ``(A) Waiver of claims.--The President shall 
                require, as a condition for settlement under this 
                subsection, that a potentially responsible party waive 
                all of the claims (including a claim for contribution 
                under this Act) that the party may have against other 
                potentially responsible parties for response costs 
                incurred with respect to the facility, unless the 
                President determines that requiring a waiver would be 
                unjust.
                    ``(B) Failure to comply.--The President may decline 
                to offer a settlement to a potentially responsible 
                party under this subsection if the President determines 
                that the potentially responsible party has failed to 
                comply with any request for access or information or an 
                administrative subpoena issued by the President under 
                this Act or has impeded or is impeding, through action 
                or inaction, the performance of a response action with 
                respect to the facility.
                    ``(C) Responsibility to provide information and 
                access.--A potentially responsible party that enters 
                into a settlement under this subsection shall not be 
                relieved of the responsibility to provide any 
                information or access requested in accordance with 
                subsection (e)(3)(B) or section 104(e).
            ``(9) Basis of determination.--If the President determines 
        that a potentially responsible party is not eligible for 
        settlement under this subsection, the President shall provide 
        the reasons for the determination in writing to the potentially 
        responsible party that requested a settlement under this 
        subsection.
            ``(10) Notification.--As soon as practicable after receipt 
        of sufficient information to make a determination, the 
        President shall notify any person that the President determines 
        is eligible under paragraph (1) of the person's eligibility for 
        an expedited settlement.
            ``(11) No judicial review.--A determination by the 
        President under paragraph (7), (8), (9), or (10) shall not be 
        subject to judicial review.
            ``(12) Notice of settlement.--After a settlement under this 
        subsection becomes final with respect to a facility, the 
        President shall promptly notify potentially responsible parties 
        at the facility that have not resolved their liability to the 
        United States of the settlement.''.

SEC. 3. EFFECT ON CONCLUDED ACTIONS.

    The amendments made by this Act shall not apply to or in any way 
affect any settlement lodged in, or judgment issued by, a United States 
District Court, or any administrative settlement or order entered into 
or issued by the United States or any State, before the date of the 
enactment of this Act.

            Passed the House of Representatives May 22, 2001.

            Attest:

                                                 JEFF TRANDAHL,

                                                                 Clerk.

Pages: 1

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