On December 12, 2014, the Senate approved H.R. 3979, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2015. Buried in this bill are provisions that provide CERCLA immunity to the United States for three parcels of property that are being transferred to municipalities in Idaho and Nevada. The parcels at issues are being transferred from the United States Department of the Interior. Although the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("U.S. EPA") has generally opposed legislation that would exempt the United States from CERCLA liability, there is no indication that U.S EPA formally opposed the liability exemptions contained in H.R. 3979. The President signed the bill into law on December 19, 2014.
It is unclear whether the exemptions contained in H.R. 3979 represent an one-off event or are a precursor to future Congressional efforts to exempt the United States from CERCLA liability. Please click here to see a copy of H.R. 3979.