Both the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the federal Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title III, apply to hazardous substances. Click here to access links to select sections of CERCLA at 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et. seq. and Title III of SARA, also known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, at 42 U.S.C. § 11001 et. seq. Each of these links is to the website maintained by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University (LII). The LII provides access to the United States Code, generated from the most recent version of the United States Government Printing Office (GPO) CD-ROM. These statutes contain requirements for emergency planning, accidental release reporting, and inventory reporting. Petroleum is not a hazardous substance. It is specifically exempt from CERCLA's notification requirements and does not appear on the SARA Title III Extremely Hazardous Substance List. However, the presence of certain additives such as benzene and toluene above reportable quantities could trigger CERCLA and SARA reporting requirements.
Under CERCLA, any person in charge of an onshore facility must notify the National Response Center as soon as he or she has knowledge of a release of a hazardous substance. 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et. seq. Click here to access select sections of CERCLA at the LII website. Whether an AST owner or operator is subject to this notification requirement will depend on whether the substance released tests hazardous, for example, if the owner or operator has added certain regulated substances to the petroleum. Notification regulations under CERCLA are located at 40 C.F.R. part 302. Click here to access the full text of the CERCLA regulations at the US GPO website.
SARA Title III
SARA Title III applies to extremely hazardous substances that are listed in 40 C.F.R. Part 355. The full text of these regulations is available via a link to the US GPO website. Although petroleum does not appear on this list, additives such as benzene and toluene above certain quantities may subject an AST owner or operator to SARA's requirements. SARA requires notification to state authorities of the presence of regulated substances. Notice must also be given in the event of a release. In addition, SARA requires certain facilities who are subject to OSHA's hazardous chemical requirements to submit Material Safety Data Sheets to local and state authorities along with a hazardous chemical inventory form.