The Cooperative Program is an initiative of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that offers potentially responsible parties (PRPs) the opportunity to clean up hazardous substance sites cooperatively under state authority and oversight. Although Missouri does not have a state superfund law similar to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), it is capable of overseeing cleanups performed by cooperative PRPs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handles parties who do not wish to enter into the Cooperative Program under Superfund enforcement.
Sites that are appropriate for the Cooperative Program are those that are serious enough to qualify for referral to EPA for a removal action or placement on the National Priorities List (NPL). However, in lieu of referral to EPA, parties are offered the opportunity to address sites under state law, outside of the CERCLA process.
The initiative provides an incentive to PRPs because site characterization and cleanup is conducted in a streamlined manner. Work is typically performed pursuant to an abatement order on consent (AOC); however, work can be initiated under a letter of agreement (LOA) while an AOC is being negotiated in order to expedite site investigations. The department's authority for entering into AOCs for cleanup is contained in the Spill Bill and the Hazardous Waste Management Law.