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Project on the Research of American CERCLA settlement procedure and the planning of settlement system in Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Act in Taiwan

In the area of “Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Act” (the Act), most cases in our country relating to the recovery of remediation fees in practice were eventually resolved through administrative litigation. In contrast, most CERCLA(Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) cases in the United States were finally resolved by administrative settlement procedures. This Project, in response to the booming law cases concerning the Act in Taiwan, focuses on the research of CERCLA procedures dealing with the settlement between government authorities and its counterparts/the PRPs. There are three main types of settlement in CERCLA, including Administrative (Settlement) Agreements, Administrative Orders on Consent and Judicial Consent Decrees. Referring to these types in CERCLA, we propose the major basic principles in building up the administrative settlement system in Taiwan. Also we propose the drafts to establish some settlement provisions in the Act and the pertinent Regulations and/or rules in order to operate the settlement system. The available complementary measures to cope with the system and the Directions between the authorities are also recommended. The short-term target proposed in this project is that before the more sophisticated and perfect administrative settlement system in the Act is established, the authorities may try to enforce the administrative settlement under current laws and regulations. As for the long- term plan, it is suggested that we may add some provisions about administrative settlement in the Act, set up pertinent Regulations and rules accordingly, and further compile or publish relevant Directions or Enforcement Manual. In addition, the complementary measures to facilitate the enforcement procedure can be established in order to cope with the brand new settlement system. In establishing new administrative settlement system in the Act, the work team also emphasizes that the American legal system is basically quite different from that of our country. Therefore, we still recommend that the new system shall be established under the current framework of Administrative Procedure Act while referring to the settlement provisions in CERCLA of the United States. The settlement under Administrative procedure shall also seek coordination with the settlement in administrative litigation procedure in order to mitigate the discrepancies and obtain unity between these two procedures.
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act/CERLCA, Administrative Settlement Agreement /Administrative Orders on Consent/ Judicial Consent Decrees, Administrative Settlement