Issue Date: August 24, 2009
EPA Urged To Provide More Superfund Data
EPA needs to provide more data for Congress to make funding decisions about the Superfund program for cleaning up hazardous waste sites, the Government Accountability Office said in a report (GAO-09-656) released last week. GAO recommended that EPA improve the data it gives to lawmakers on the status and cost of cleanups, including considering the extent to which companies responsible for pollution may be able to pay for the cleanups. GAO pointed out that federal funding for the Superfund program has declined in recent years while EPA’s costs for managing and cleaning up individual sites are increasing. One reason for the cost increase is that more mining sites, which are among the most expensive to clean up, have been added to the Superfund list in the past decade, according to the GAO report. The report also found that Superfund litigation has declined since 1994. It cited three factors for this trend: EPA has promoted settlements with parties responsible for pollution, courts have clarified a number of legal issues related to Superfund liability, and fewer sites have been added to the Superfund list.
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