October 28, 2004
Most petroleum products are exempted from the reach of Superfund liability. See 42 U.S.C. 9601(14)(exempting petroleum from the CERCLA/Superfund definition of “hazardous substance”). The law is set up this way for two basis reasons. First, petroleum is a naturally-occurring substance. It would be ludicrous to have to treat the La Brea tar pits as a Superfund site. Second, petroleum hydrocarbon products occupy a unique position in the global social and economic order.