42 U.S. Code § 9619 - Response action contractors

(a) Liability of response action contractors
(1) Response action contractors
A person who is a response action contractor with respect to any release or threatened release of a hazardous substance or pollutant or contaminant from a vessel or facility shall not be liable under this subchapter or under any other Federal law to any person for injuries, costs, damages, expenses, or other liability (including but not limited to claims for indemnification or contribution and claims by third parties for death, personal injury, illness or loss of or damage to property or economic loss) which results from such release or threatened release.
(2) Negligence, etc.
Paragraph (1) shall not apply in the case of a release that is caused by conduct of the response action contractor which is negligent, grossly negligent, or which constitutes intentional misconduct.
(3) Effect on warranties; employer liability
Nothing in this subsection shall affect the liability of any person under any warranty under Federal, State, or common law. Nothing in this subsection shall affect the liability of an employer who is a response action contractor to any employee of such employer under any provision of law, including any provision of any law relating to worker’s compensation.
(4) Governmental employees
A state employee or an employee of a political subdivision who provides services relating to response action while acting within the scope of his authority as a governmental employee shall have the same exemption from liability (subject to the other provisions of this section) as is provided to the response action contractor under this section.
(b) Savings provisions
(1) Liability of other persons
The defense provided by section 9607 (b)(3) of this title shall not be available to any potentially responsible party with respect to any costs or damages caused by any act or omission of a response action contractor. Except as provided in subsection (a)(4) of this section and the preceding sentence, nothing in this section shall affect the liability under this chapter or under any other Federal or State law of any person, other than a response action contractor.
(2) Burden of plaintiff
Nothing in this section shall affect the plaintiff’s burden of establishing liability under this subchapter.
(c) Indemnification
(1) In general
The President may agree to hold harmless and indemnify any response action contractor meeting the requirements of this subsection against any liability (including the expenses of litigation or settlement) for negligence arising out of the contractor’s performance in carrying out response action activities under this subchapter, unless such liability was caused by conduct of the contractor which was grossly negligent or which constituted intentional misconduct.
(2) Applicability
This subsection shall apply only with respect to a response action carried out under written agreement with—
(A) the President;
(B) any Federal agency;
(C) a State or political subdivision which has entered into a contract or cooperative agreement in accordance with section 9604 (d)(1) of this title; or
(D) any potentially responsible party carrying out any agreement under section 9622 of this title (relating to settlements) or section 9606 of this title (relating to abatement).
(3) Source of funding
This subsection shall not be subject to section 1301 or 1341 of title 31 or section 6301 (a) and (b) of title 41 or to section 9662 of this title. For purposes of section 9611 of this title, amounts expended pursuant to this subsection for indemnification of any response action contractor (except with respect to federally owned or operated facilities) shall be considered governmental response costs incurred pursuant to section 9604 of this title. If sufficient funds are unavailable in the Hazardous Substance Superfund established under subchapter A of chapter 98 of title 26 to make payments pursuant to such indemnification or if the Fund is repealed, there are authorized to be appropriated such amounts as may be necessary to make such payments.
(4) Requirements
An indemnification agreement may be provided under this subsection only if the President determines that each of the following requirements are met:
(A) The liability covered by the indemnification agreement exceeds or is not covered by insurance available, at a fair and reasonable price, to the contractor at the time the contractor enters into the contract to provide response action, and adequate insurance to cover such liability is not generally available at the time the response action contract is entered into.
(B) The response action contractor has made diligent efforts to obtain insurance coverage from non-Federal sources to cover such liability.
(C) In the case of a response action contract covering more than one facility, the response action contractor agrees to continue to make such diligent efforts each time the contractor begins work under the contract at a new facility.
(5) Limitations
(A) Liability covered
Indemnification under this subsection shall apply only to response action contractor liability which results from a release of any hazardous substance or pollutant or contaminant if such release arises out of response action activities.
(B) Deductibles and limits
An indemnification agreement under this subsection shall include deductibles and shall place limits on the amount of indemnification to be made available.
(C) Contracts with potentially responsible parties
(i) Decision to indemnify In deciding whether to enter into an indemnification agreement with a response action contractor carrying out a written contract or agreement with any potentially responsible party, the President shall determine an amount which the potentially responsible party is able to indemnify the contractor. The President may enter into such an indemnification agreement only if the President determines that such amount of indemnification is inadequate to cover any reasonable potential liability of the contractor arising out of the contractor’s negligence in performing the contract or agreement with such party. The President shall make the determinations in the preceding sentences (with respect to the amount and the adequacy of the amount) taking into account the total net assets and resources of potentially responsible parties with respect to the facility at the time of such determinations.
(ii) Conditions The President may pay a claim under an indemnification agreement referred to in clause (i) for the amount determined under clause (i) only if the contractor has exhausted all administrative, judicial, and common law claims for indemnification against all potentially responsible parties participating in the clean-up of the facility with respect to the liability of the contractor arising out of the contractor’s negligence in performing the contract or agreement with such party. Such indemnification agreement shall require such contractor to pay any deductible established under subparagraph (B) before the contractor may recover any amount from the potentially responsible party or under the indemnification agreement.
(D) RCRA facilities
No owner or operator of a facility regulated under the Solid Waste Disposal Act [42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.] may be indemnified under this subsection with respect to such facility.
(E) Persons retained or hired
A person retained or hired by a person described in subsection (e)(2)(B) of this section shall be eligible for indemnification under this subsection only if the President specifically approves of the retaining or hiring of such person.
(6) Cost recovery
For purposes of section 9607 of this title, amounts expended pursuant to this subsection for indemnification of any person who is a response action contractor with respect to any release or threatened release shall be considered a cost of response incurred by the United States Government with respect to such release.
(7) Regulations
The President shall promulgate regulations for carrying out the provisions of this subsection. Before promulgation of the regulations, the President shall develop guidelines to carry out this section. Development of such guidelines shall include reasonable opportunity for public comment.
(8) Study
The Comptroller General shall conduct a study in the fiscal year ending September 30, 1989, on the application of this subsection, including whether indemnification agreements under this subsection are being used, the number of claims that have been filed under such agreements, and the need for this subsection. The Comptroller General shall report the findings of the study to Congress no later than September 30, 1989.
(d) Exception
The exemption provided under subsection (a) of this section and the authority of the President to offer indemnification under subsection (c) of this section shall not apply to any person covered by the provisions of paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of section 9607 (a) of this title with respect to the release or threatened release concerned if such person would be covered by such provisions even if such person had not carried out any actions referred to in subsection (e) of this section.
(e) Definitions
For purposes of this section—
(1) Response action contract
The term “response action contract” means any written contract or agreement entered into by a response action contractor (as defined in paragraph (2)(A) of this subsection) with—
(A) the President;
(B) any Federal agency;
(C) a State or political subdivision which has entered into a contract or cooperative agreement in accordance with section 9604 (d)(1) of this title; or
(D) any potentially responsible party carrying out an agreement under section 9606 or 9622 of this title;
to provide any remedial action under this chapter at a facility listed on the National Priorities List, or any removal under this chapter, with respect to any release or threatened release of a hazardous substance or pollutant or contaminant from the facility or to provide any evaluation, planning, engineering, surveying and mapping, design, construction, equipment, or any ancillary services thereto for such facility.
(2) Response action contractor
The term “response action contractor” means—
(A) any—
(i) person who enters into a response action contract with respect to any release or threatened release of a hazardous substance or pollutant or contaminant from a facility and is carrying out such contract; and  [1]
(ii) person, public or nonprofit private entity, conducting a field demonstration pursuant to section 9660 (b) of this title; and
(iii) Recipients  [2] of grants (including sub-grantees) under section 9660a  [3] of this title for the training and education of workers who are or may be engaged in activities related to hazardous waste removal, containment, or emergency response under this chapter; and  [1]
(B) any person who is retained or hired by a person described in subparagraph (A) to provide any services relating to a response action; and
(C) any surety who after October 16, 1990, provides a bid, performance or payment bond to a response action contractor, and begins activities to meet its obligations under such bond, but only in connection with such activities or obligations.
(3) Insurance
The term “insurance” means liability insurance which is fair and reasonably priced, as determined by the President, and which is made available at the time the contractor enters into the response action contract to provide response action.
(f) Competition
Response action contractors and subcontractors for program management, construction management, architectural and engineering, surveying and mapping, and related services shall be selected in accordance with title IX of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949. [3] The Federal selection procedures shall apply to appropriate contracts negotiated by all Federal governmental agencies involved in carrying out this chapter. Such procedures shall be followed by response action contractors and subcontractors.
(g) Surety bonds
(1) If under sections 3131 and 3133 of title 40, surety bonds are required for any direct Federal procurement of any response action contract and are not waived pursuant to section 3134 of title 40, they shall be issued in accordance with sections 3131 and 3133 of title 40.
(2) If under applicable Federal law surety bonds are required for any direct Federal procurement of any response action contract, no right of action shall accrue on the performance bond issued on such response action contract to or for the use of any person other than the obligee named in the bond.
(3) If under applicable Federal law surety bonds are required for any direct Federal procurement of any response action contract, unless otherwise provided for by the procuring agency in the bond, in the event of a default, the surety’s liability on a performance bond shall be only for the cost of completion of the contract work in accordance with the plans and specifications less the balance of funds remaining to be paid under the contract, up to the penal sum of the bond. The surety shall in no event be liable on bonds to indemnify or compensate the obligee for loss or liability arising from personal injury or property damage whether or not caused by a breach of the bonded contract.
(4) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as preempting, limiting, superseding, affecting, applying to, or modifying any State laws, regulations, requirements, rules, practices or procedures. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as affecting, applying to, modifying, limiting, superseding, or preempting any rights, authorities, liabilities, demands, actions, causes of action, losses, judgments, claims, statutes of limitation, or obligations under Federal or State law, which do not arise on or under the bond.
(5) This subsection shall not apply to bonds executed before October 17, 1990.


[1]  So in original. The word “and” probably should not appear.

[2]  So in original. Probably should not be capitalized.

[3]  See References in Text note below.

Source

(Pub. L. 96–510, title I, § 119, as added Pub. L. 99–499, title I, § 119,Oct. 17, 1986, 100 Stat. 1662; amended Pub. L. 99–514, § 2,Oct. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 2095; Pub. L. 100–202, § 101(f) [title II, § 201], Dec. 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1329–187, 1329–198; Pub. L. 101–584, § 1,Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2872; Pub. L. 102–484, div. A, title III, § 331(a),Oct. 23, 1992, 106 Stat. 2373; Pub. L. 105–276, title III, Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2497.)
References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (b)(1), (e)(1), (2)(A)(iii), and (f), was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 96–510, Dec. 11, 1980, 94 Stat. 2767, known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 9601 of this title and Tables.
The Solid Waste Disposal Act, referred to in subsec. (c)(5)(D), is title II of Pub. L. 89–272, Oct. 20, 1965, 79 Stat. 997, as amended generally by Pub. L. 94–580, § 2,Oct. 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2795, which is classified generally to chapter 82 (§ 6901 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 6901 of this title and Tables.
Section 9660a of this title, referred to in subsec. (e)(2)(A)(iii), was in the original “section 126” probably meaning section 126 ofPub. L. 99–499, title I, Oct. 17, 1986, 100 Stat. 1690. Subsecs. (a) to (f) ofsection 126, which relate to worker protection standards, are set out as a note under section 655 of Title 29, Labor. Subsec. (g) ofsection 126, which relates to grants for training and education of workers who are or may be engaged in activities related to hazardous waste removal, etc., is classified to section 9660a of this title.
The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, referred to in subsec. (f), is act June 30, 1949, ch. 288, 63 Stat. 377. Title IX of the Act, which was classified generally to subchapter VI (§ 541 et seq.) of chapter 10 of former Title 40, Public Buildings, Property, and Works, was repealed and reenacted by Pub. L. 107–217, §§ 1, 6 (b),Aug. 21, 2002, 116 Stat. 1062, 1304, as chapter 11 (§ 1101 et seq.) of Title 40, Public Buildings, Property, and Works. For disposition of sections of former Title 40 to revised Title 40, see Table preceding section 101 of Title 40. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.
Codification

In subsec. (c)(3), “section 6301 (a) and (b) of title 41” substituted for “section 3732 of the Revised Statutes (41 U.S.C. 11)” on authority of Pub. L. 111–350, § 6(c),Jan. 4, 2011, 124 Stat. 3854, which Act enacted Title 41, Public Contracts.
In subsec. (g)(1), “sections 3131 and 3133 of title 40” substituted for “the Act of August 24, 1935 (40 U.S.C. 270a–270d), commonly referred to as the ‘Miller Act’ ” and for “such Act of August 24, 1935” and “section 3134 of title 40” substituted for “the Act of April 29, 1941 (40 U.S.C. 270e–270f)”, on authority of Pub. L. 107–217, § 5(c),Aug. 21, 2002, 116 Stat. 1303, the first section of which enacted Title 40, Public Buildings, Property, and Works.
Amendments

1998—Subsec. (e)(2)(C). Pub. L. 105–276struck out “and before January 1, 1996,” after “1990,”.
Subsec. (g)(5). Pub. L. 105–276struck out “, or after December 31, 1995” before period at end.
1992—Subsec. (e)(2)(C). Pub. L. 102–484, § 321(a)(1)(A), substituted “January 1, 1996,” for “January 1, 1993”.
Subsec. (g)(1). Pub. L. 102–484, § 331(a)(2), substituted “the Act of August 24, 1935 (40 U.S.C. 270a–270d), commonly referred to as the ‘Miller Act’,” for “the Miller Act, 40 U.S.C. sections 270a–270f,”, inserted “and are not waived pursuant to the Act of April 29, 1941 (40 U.S.C. 270e–270f)”, and substituted “in accordance with such Act of August 24, 1935.” for “in accordance with 40 U.S.C. sections 270a–270d.”
Subsec. (g)(5). Pub. L. 102–484, § 331(a)(1)(B), substituted “December 31, 1995” for “December 31, 1992”.
1990—Subsec. (e)(2)(C). Pub. L. 101–584, § 1(1), (2), added subpar. (C).
Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 101–584, § 1(3), added subsec. (g).
1987—Subsec. (e)(2)(A)(iii). Pub. L. 100–202added cl. (iii).
1986—Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 99–514substituted “Internal Revenue Code of 1986” for “Internal Revenue Code of 1954”, which for purposes of codification was translated as “title 26” thus requiring no change in text.
Coordination of Titles I to IV of Pub. L. 99–499

Any provision of titles I to IV of Pub. L. 99–499, imposing any tax, premium, or fee; establishing any trust fund; or authorizing expenditures from any trust fund, to have no force or effect, see section 531 ofPub. L. 99–499, set out as a note under section 1 of Title 26, Internal Revenue Code.

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