No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The CERCLA Liability Exposure Unfortunately Created by Pre-acquisition Soil Testing

This Note argues that CERCLA, as it is currently written, requires courts to hold parties liable for pre-purchase soil investigations that spread or mix contamination because to conclude otherwise would stretch CERCLA beyond its breaking point. Part I argues that both those who order pre-acquisition soil testing and those who conduct the tests are PRPs if the testing spreads existing contamination. Part II argues that the statute does not allow for the judicial creation of a soil testing liability exception. Part III acknowledges the policy problems created by testing liability and advocates a legislative solution to exempt pre-purchase soil testing from CERCLA liability.