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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2817 - Superfund Amendments of 1985

November 21, 1985


(House Rules)
(Representative Eckart (D) Ohio)

The Administration strongly supports a five year reauthorization of the Superfund program. However, the President's senior advisors will recommend disapproval of any Superfund legislation containing a broad-based tax (such as a value-added tax or substantial increases in the existing feedstock and petroleum taxes. Further, the Administration strongly opposes enactment of H.R. 2817 unless it is amended to:

reduce the five year funding level of $10 billion to the President's proposal of $5.3 billion. EPA can operate an efficient, well-managed $5.3 billion program that protects human health through an aggressive emergency cleanup program and makes significant progress toward addressing the long-term hazardous waste cleanup problem;

delete the provision allowing citizens to file suit for any violation of the Act or against the Government for failure to perform any non-discretionary duty. Such litigation would be extremely costly, impose huge burdens on the courts, and result in program priorities being set by a variety of different courts;

delete the provision requiring Federal facility cleanups to meet all State and local cleanup standards and permit requirements. This will result in delays and require mope stringent but excessively costly cleanup than at non-Federal sites while providing little, if any, additional health protection;

delete the provision creating a new $0.85 billion trust fund to respond to leaks from underground petroleum storage tanks. Establishment of a massive new Fund is not warranted when no information is available yet to determine the size of the problem that exists or whether it can be adequately dealt with under the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984; and

delete the provision requiring 90% financing of operations and maintenance costs by the Fund. Funding of O&M is an inappropriate Federal role and would set a bad precedent for other Federal construction programs under which funding is a State or local responsibility.

In order to effect the above changes, the Administration supports granting a modified open rule.

The Administration strongly opposes the attachment of the following Public Works Committee amendments to H.R. 2817:

imposition of mandatory schedules for listing facilities on the priority list and commencing remedial actions. Such schedules are unreasonable from a management standpoint and would result in serious administrative problems;

use of Superfund money to pay for restoration of natural resources damages. This provision will simply divert money from Superfund's primary mission, to protect human health, to low priority environmental restoration activity;

prohibition against responsible parties performing cleanup planning activities. With proper oversight, private parties should be permitted to perform these activities. This will allow an accelerated pace of cleanup activities nationwide; and

expansion of the citizen suit provision to include suits against persons responsible for releases posing an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health or the environment. This will interfere with EPA's ability to set priorities for cleanup, and will slow down cleanup efforts nation-wide.

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2817 - Superfund Amendments of 1985 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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