40 CFR 304.33 - Arbitral decision and public comment.
(a) The Arbitrator shall render a proposed decision within forty-five days after the hearing is closed, or within forty-five days after the pre-hearing conference if no hearing is held, unless the parties have settled the dispute prior to the rendering of the proposed decision.
(1) The proposed decision shall be in writing and shall be signed by the Arbitrator. It shall be limited in accordance with the Arbitrator's jurisdiction as defined by § 304.20 of this part, and shall, if such issues have been jointly submitted by the parties for resolution, contain the Arbitrator's determination of:
(i) Which participating PRPs, if any, are liable pursuant to section 107(a) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. 9607(a);
(ii) The dollar amount of response costs, if any, to be awarded to EPA; and
(iii) The allocation of responsibility for payment of EPA's award, if any, among the participating PRPs.
(2) The proposed decision shall also assess arbitration fees and expenses (see § 304.41 of this part) in favor of any party, or combination of parties, and, in the event any administrative fees or expenses are due the Association, in favor of the Association.
(c) If the parties settle their dispute during the course of the proceeding, the Arbitrator may, upon the parties' request, set forth in the terms of the agreed settlement in a proposed decision. Except as provided in § 304.20(b) of this part, a proposed decision which embodies an agreed settlement shall be subject to all applicable provisions of this part, including, but not limited to, paragraph (e) of this section and § 304.40 of this part.
(d) The parties shall accept as legal delivery of the proposed decision the placing in the United States mail of a true copy of the proposed decision, sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to each party's last known address or each party's attorney's last known address, or by personal service.
(1) Pursuant to section 122(i) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. 9622(i), notice of the proposed decision shall be published promptly by EPA in the Federal Register. Such notice shall include the name and location of the facility concerned, the names of the parties to the proceeding, and a brief summary of the proposed decision, and shall provide persons who are not parties to the proceeding a thirty-day period in which to file written comments relating to the proposed decision. Any filed comments shall be made available to the participating PRPs and to the public. The participating PRPs shall have ten days from the close of the public comment period in which to submit to EPA in writing their views on the merits of any comments filed. EPA shall consider any comments filed, and shall, within thirty days after the close of the ten-day period during which the participating PRPs may submit their views on any comments filed, provide written notice to the Arbitrator and the participating PRPs. The written notice shall be made available to the public and shall include:
(i) A summary of any comments filed;
(ii) Responses to any comments filed;
(iii) A discussion of whether any comments filed disclose to EPA facts or considerations which indicate the proposed decision is inappropriate, improper or inadequate; and
(iv) EPA's determination as to whether modification of the proposed decision or withdrawal from the arbitral proceeding is necessary based upon such comments.
(2) If EPA's written notice does not state that modification or withdrawal is necessary based upon public comments, then the proposed decision shall become final thirty days after the date of issuance of EPA's written notice. If EPA's written notice states that modification or withdrawal is necessary, the parties shall have thirty days from the date of issuance of EPA's written notice to modify the proposed decision so that it is no longer inappropriate, improper or inadequate and to set forth the proposed decision, as modified, in an agreed settlement. If an agreed settlement is reached, such agreed settlement shall be the final decision. If the parties do not modify the proposed decision in an agreed settlement within thirty days, the proposed decision shall be null and void and of no legal effect, EPA shall withdraw from the proceeding, and the Arbitrator shall assess such administrative fees and expenses (see § 304.41 of this part) against the parties as the Arbitrator deems appropriate.
(f) Payment of EPA's award, if any, and any fees or expenses due pursuant to the final decision, shall be made within thirty days after the date of the final decision.
(g) The Arbitrator shall, upon written request of any party, furnish to such party certified facsimiles of all papers in the Arbitrator's possession that may be required in judicial proceedings relating to the arbitration pursuant to § 304.40 of this part.