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[GreenYes] Superfund Cutbacks
Apologies for redundancy/cross-postings.

EPA Says Cleanups May Be Cut Back 
                Mon Jul 1, 1:49 PM ET 

                By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer 

                WASHINGTON (AP) - Cleanup work at toxic waste sites in 18 states will be severely curtailed or in
                some cases halted under a Bush administration plan to reduce spending for the nation's Superfund
                program, according to an Environmental Protection Agency ( news - web sites) analysis.

                EPA Administrator Christie Whitman previously announced planned cutbacks, but an EPA inspector
                general's report, made public Monday, for the first time indicated which sites would be affected.

                The IG report, released by two Democratic congressmen, said 33 Superfund sites in 18 states would
                no longer get money, beginning next fiscal year, from a special cleanup fund that is running out of

                A dozen other sites across the country will get some additional money, but less than what regional
                officials had said is needed for cleanup. And long-term remediation work at more than 50 additional
                sites also would receive less money, the report said.

                The Bush administration wants to shift funding for the 33 cleanup projects to the government's general
                fund, meaning taxpayers would pay. But such a shift requires congressional approval and will slow
                down the work and likely halt it entirely is some cases.

                The Superfund projects singled out for cutbacks are among the country's most polluted sites. They
                include several old mines in Montana, a wood preservative plant in Louisiana, chemical plants in
                Florida and a New Jersey plant that once made the herbicide Agent Orange, the IG report said.

                The 1980 Superfund law says polluters should pay to clean up their own environmental mess. The fund
                came from taxes on chemical and petroleum companies, but those taxes expired in 1995 and Congress
                has not renewed them.

                Since 1995, the fund has dwindled from a high of $3.6 billion to a projected $28 million at the end of
                next year. The Bush administration has opposed resumption of the special taxes and Congress has not
                addressed the issue recently.

                Two Democratic congressmen — Rep. John Dingell ( news, bio, voting record) of Michigan and
                Frank Pallone of New Jersey — asked for the EPA report and made it public Monday. Details were
                first reported Monday by The New York Times.

                Dingell said the administration's refusal to support renewal of the Superfund tax has "seriously
                imperiled" the cleanup "of the most dangerous contaminated toxic waste sites in the country" because
                of inadequate funding.

                "The Bush Administration refuses to fund the necessary cleanup of toxic sites around the nation," added
                Pallone. He said failure to restore the Superfund tax "seriously undermines" the program.

                Whitman has opposed the tax, saying it requires companies to pay even if they did not pollute. "It's on
                everyone in an industry, so that even those that have the best of environmental records are also
                paying," she told a congressional hearing earlier this year.

                The projects that were cut off from the fund, beginning next fiscal year, include five sites in Florida, five
                in New Jersey, three in Texas, and two each in Nebraska, Montana, Louisiana and Oklahoma. The
                other states, each with one site, are Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New
                Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia. There also is one in the U.S.
                Virgin Islands.

                The EPA's regional offices have requested $450 million for remedial actions at 77 sites that sought
                additional funding, but only $224 million was allocated, the IG report said. In addition to the 33 sites
                that got no money from the fund, another 12 sites received less than what was requested.

                Also, requests for long-term remediation at 54 sites got $33.2 million, about 70 percent of what had
                been requested, the IG reported.

                Regional EPA officials said the cuts in many cases would slow long-term cleanup or prevent some
                activities from being started, the IG said:

                _Officials in EPA's Kansas City office said one $100 million project would have to be extended from
                five years to 10 years.

                _The Denver office said work at two sites will not begin because it will not receive $10 million the
                region requested.

                _The Atlanta office said the cuts created "a bottleneck in the Superfund pipeline" and a $6 million
                shortfall at several sites in the Southeast region would slow cleanup.

B. Wayne Turner
City of Winston-Salem
Utilities Division
phone: (336) 727 8418
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