Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, the current owner is liable for the cleanup of hazardous waste, even if a previous owner was responsible for the soil and groundwater contamination, unless he can prove he is an innocent landowner. In response to CERCLA, many owners of industrial facilities have chosen to relocate their companies to rural areas. Unfortunately, these actions have a substantial impact on former industrial urban areas. Section II of this article discusses the liability of a landowner in a CERCLA action. In addition, it sets forth the elements of the innocent landowner defense and the case law interpreting it. Section III will discuss proposed amendments and procedural guidelines developed to interpret the defense. Section IV will highlight several states' legislative responses developed to limit liability, to comply with the innocent landowner defense, and to give notice of contamination to potential buyers. Finally, Section V will summarize the needs of the parties to an industrial real estate transaction and suggest a pathway for development of Ohio law.
Ellen JoAnne Gerber,
Industrial Property Transfer Liability: Reality v. Necessity,
40 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol40/iss2/5