Document Type


Publication Title

Columbia Law Review

Publication Date



An increasing number of industrial polluters have taken advantage of protective features of the Federal Bankruptcy Code to avoid compliance with environmental injunctions, and thus have undermined the enforcement of environmental laws designed to protect the public from toxic wastes. Two provisions of the Code are at issue: section 362, which stays judicial proceedings against a party that files a bankruptcy petition; and section 554, which allows a trustee to abandon burdensome property. The lower courts have struggled, with little success, to find allowable limits to the protection afforded by these statutory provisions. Both provisions have come to the attention of the Supreme Court. Recently, in Ohio v. Kovacs, the Supreme Court considered whether an environmental injunction that had been stayed through the automatic stay could be discharged in bankruptcy. In the coming term, the Supreme Court will review In re Quanta Resources Corp., which involves the propriety of qualifying the privilege of abandonment to protect the public interest.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.