In 1980, the U.S. Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Commonly referred to as “Superfund,” this federal environmental law was passed in response to thousands of sites across the nation where hazardous wastes were released to the environment, contaminating the soil, water and air, and threatening public health and the environment. CERCLA gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to investigate and clean up abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste disposal sites. The “potentially responsible parties” connected to those sites perform the cleanup and pay for the cleanup costs. If the potentially responsible parties cannot be found or cannot pay for the cleanup, CERCLA authorizes the federal government to finance the cleanup costs out of a federal Trust Fund, the Superfund Trust Fund, under a cost-sharing agreement with the state in which the site is located. EPA authorized the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to carry out these regulations for many of the sites located in Missouri. For more information about CERCLA and Missouri's equivalent laws and regulations, visit Citizens Guide to Waste-Related Rules and Regulations.