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Legal Liabilities Faced by Owners of Property Contaminated by Clandestine Methamphetamine Laboratories: The Oregon Approach

NCJ Number
Williamette Law Review Volume: 27 Issue: 2 Dated: (Spring 1991) Pages: 325-353
T B Maher
Date Published
29 pages
This comment focuses on the health and environmental aspects of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories in Oregon.
After a brief description of the manufacturing process for methamphetamine, including a discussion of the concurrent hazards, the article addresses the legal status and implications of methamphetamine-contaminated property, particularly under the Federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 and under Oregon law. The discussion reviews some of the policy issues surrounding the problem and concludes by presenting proposals for addressing the issue. The primary issue considered is the legal liability associated with the dismantling and reoccupation hazards associated with methamphetamine laboratories. The article concludes that without long-term study and evaluation of the effects of chronic exposure to the chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine and ongoing health assessments for the residents of properties after cleanup has occurred, even those owners who have followed the Oregon Health Division's rules cannot assume they will be permanently free of any liability. Some of the article's proposals are the development of adequate standards for human habitation, the education of landlords to obtain adequate information, Department of Environmental Quality payment for initial chemical removal, and immunity for selected owners of contaminated property. 176 footnotes


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