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[greenyes] Superfund Funding

NEW YORK TIMES - May 20, 2005

New E.P.A. Chief Says Budget Is Sufficient
WASHINGTON, May 19 - In his first appearance before Congress as the new
administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Stephen L. Johnson
told a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Thursday that he was satisfied
with President Bush's budget for the agency even though it represented a 5
percent decrease from the current fiscal year.
The president's request of $7.6 billion for the 2006 fiscal year, which
begins on Sept. 1, "supports the work of the E.P.A. and its partners across
the nation," Mr. Johnson said, adding that the agency was doing its part to
help Mr. Bush reach his goal of cutting the overall budget deficit in half
by 2009.
But by saying that the money would be sufficient to "carry out our goals and
objectives," Mr. Johnson left the strong impression that he would take his
lead from the White House, rather than cast a higher profile, as his
immediate predecessors, Christie Whitman and Michael O. Leavitt, did on

Mr. Burns also told Mr. Johnson that the Superfund program needed money
beyond the $1.27 billion requested, which is $32 million over the amount
allocated last year. Currently, the agency has more than 1,200 sites on the
national priority list, including one of particular interest to Mr. Burns:
Libby, Mont., where the government in 1999 began cleaning up asbestos from a
vermiculite mining operation that is now defunct.
Congress is considering legislation that would compensate victims of
asbestos exposure. One of the areas most affected is Libby, and Mr. Burns
wanted to know how much longer the cleanup would take.
Mr. Johnson did not have encouraging news. By the agency's best estimate, he
said, as many as 1,200 properties remain to be cleaned up, and the agency
has only $17 million to cover 200 cleanups a year.

[NOTE: To do those 200 cleanups a year with $17 million is $85,000
per site, a trivial amount clearing demarking the fate of the program, and
the impact on the lives of the people who reside in the vicinity of the
listed sites, not to mention the overarching fact that even when there are
funds to do a cleanup -- AS PRESENTLY DEFINED -- that is almost always only
palliative care and NOT remediation as most people have been led incorrectly
to believe.]

Peter Anderson, President
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