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[greenyes] Superfund Near Bankrupt


NEW YORK TIMES
August 16, 2004
Polluted Sites Could Face Shortage of Cleanup Money
By FELICITY BARRINGER

ASHINGTON, Aug. 15 - With about six weeks left in the federal government's
fiscal year, dozens of Superfund sites that are eligible for cleanup money
are likely to be granted nothing or a fraction of what their managers say is
needed because of a budget shortfall that could exceed $250 million,
according to a survey by the Democratic staff of the House Energy and
Commerce Committee.

The list of sites was compiled from information provided privately by
officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a letter sent
on Friday to Michael O. Leavitt, the agency's administrator, from
Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the
committee.

The letter and an attached list indicate that at sites like Atlas Tack, a
company that made tacks and nails in Fairhaven, Mass., Omaha Lead in Omaha
and Woolfolk Chemical Works, in Fort Valley, Ga., cleanup managers are
likely to fall behind in clearing toxic residue like lead particles, cyanide
and arsenic in soil or groundwater.

The original cleanup fund, built on industry taxes, has dwindled to
negligible levels in the nine years since Congress abolished those taxes, so
the money is now almost entirely drawn from general tax revenue.

A subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee recently recommended
rejecting the E.P.A.'s request for an additional $150 million for the next
fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Money for cleanup can be allocated at any
time in the fiscal year.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2003, according to an inspector
general's report, the shortfall amounted to about $175 million.

"...



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