When contamination of any particular site has been identified, it is possible for an individual to file a citizen’s suit under federal environmental statutes. However, before anything can actually be done the perpetrator of the pollution has to be identified, and this can be a long and expensive process. However, the government may already have identified the responsible parties by the time the individual files a citizen’s suit, and if the government are already taking action, then there is no need to file a suit.
Once the responsible parties have been identified, the government (Environmental Protection) can take action to either recoup the cost of the clean up from them or to demand that they deal with the clean up of the contamination. However, in the case that the responsible party cannot be identified or has gone bankrupt, there is a trust fund in place that is used to bear the costs of environmental contamination clean up.
It is everyone’s responsibility to look after the environment, even though the rules and regulations are put in place by the government. Therefore, it is vital that you report the matter if you become aware of any contamination or pollution. Even if you think it may already have been reported it is always vest to report it just in case. Early action from those that are aware of contamination means that action can be taken far earlier to initiate the clean up and there is a better chance of the culprits being identified and the costs being recovered.
The process of identifying and suing the parties responsible for contamination can be lengthy, and it may need an independent investigation and a variety of tests before any identification is made and any legal action can be taken. Of course, there is a chance that the culprit will never be identified. However, the government will still take the necessary measures to clean up the area or site with immediate effect, and will then later recoup the costs if and when the person or persons responsible come to light.
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