Friday, July 22, 2005
Can CERCLA be used to recover response costs incurred in a foreign nation? No is the answer, by implication from a recent case decided by the Ninth Circuit, Arc Ecology v. United States Dept of the Air Force, in which Philippine plaintiffs sought to compel the United States to conduct a preliminary assessment of Subic Bay and Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. The Ninth Circuit found no express answer to the question of extraterritoriality in the statute, but the law presumes that a statute will be applied only within the territory of the United States. The court also found many provisions of CERCLA that suggested that Congress was thinking of the United States when it passed CERCLA.