Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal


For a Chapter 7 trustee to abandon property under § 554 of the Bankruptcy Code, the property must be deemed burdensome or of inconsequential value to the estate. While environmentally contamination is burdensome because of the resources required to clean the property, there is currently no decisive rule or law to assist bankruptcy courts in determining when to allow trustee abandonment. This Comment explores the possibility of a trustee in bankruptcy asserting the innocent landowner defense under CERCLA as well as proposes three other solutions that may clarify this issue: (1) amending CERCLA or the Bankruptcy Code to provide a 'superlien' for governmental entities that initially paid cleanup costs; (2) amending § 554 of the Bankruptcy Code to create an 'abandonment test' similar to the means test; and (3) outlining a balancing test or factors courts could use for determining when abandonment is proper.