The Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of making the superfund designations. The superfund list was established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. Under the act, the EPA is allowed to clean up hazardous waste sites and the responsible parties are encouraged to reimburse the government.
In general, the responsible parties are much more than “encouraged” to pay for their problems – the EPA can (and does, although it usually takes law suits and court orders) compel the responsible parties (or their successors) to pay for the clean ups. EPA in general serves as oversight, and the superfund program does not really have enough money itself to pay for the clean up of the large problem sites.
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