Our operations are subject to federal, state, local and foreign environmental laws and regulations that impose limitations on the discharge of pollutants into the air and water and establish standards for the handling, use, treatment, storage and disposal of, or exposure to, hazardous wastes and other materials and require clean up of contaminated sites. Some of these laws and regulations require us to obtain permits, which contain terms and conditions that impose limitations on our ability to emit and discharge hazardous materials into the environment and periodically may be subject to modification, renewal and revocation by issuing authorities. Fines, penalties and other civil or criminal sanctions may be imposed for non-compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations and the failure to have or to comply with the terms and conditions of required permits. Certain environmental laws in the United States, such as the federal Superfund law and similar state laws, impose liability for the cost of investigation or remediation of contaminated sites upon the current or, in some cases, the former site owners or operators (or their predecessor entities) and upon parties who arranged for the disposal of wastes or transported or sent those wastes to an off-site facility for treatment or disposal, regardless of when the release of hazardous substances occurred or the lawfulness of the activities giving rise to the release. Such liability can be imposed without regard to fault and, under certain circumstances, can be joint and several, resulting in one party being held responsible for the entire obligation.
While we have not been required historically to make significant capital expenditures in order to comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations, we cannot predict with any certainty our future capital expenditure requirements because of continually changing compliance standards and environmental technology. Furthermore, violations or contaminated sites that we do not know about, including contamination caused by prior owners and operators of such sites, or at sites formerly owned or operated by us or our predecessors in connection with discontinued operations, could result in additional compliance or remediation costs or other liabilities, which could be material.
We have limited insurance coverage for potential environmental liabilities associated with historic and current operations and we do not anticipate increasing such coverage in the future. We may also assume significant environmental liabilities in acquisitions. Such costs or liabilities could adversely affect our financial situation and our ability to conduct our business.