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Statement of Administration Policy: S. 51 - Superfund Improvement Act of 1985

September 16, 1985


(Senator Stafford (R) Vermont)

The Administration strongly supports a five year reauthorization of the Superfund program. However, it strongly opposes enactment of S. 51 unless it is amended to:

delete the victims' assistance demonstration program. This program would divert both resources and attention away from Superfund's primary goal of cleaning up hazardous waste sites. The program would provide compensation in an arbitrary and unfair manner, and could cost far in excess of the authorized amount ($30 million annually);

reduce the five year funding level of $7.5 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, none of which could consider the entire program but, all of which would have to respond to pressure for individual action. This provision is especially objectionable in combination with the mandatory cleanup deadlines for Federal facilities; and

adopt the Administration's proposal to focus the Superfund program on uncontrolled hazardous substance sites which pose the greatest threat to public health and the environment (i.e., cleaning up abandoned hazardous waste sites).

restructure the tax provisions to raise revenues without resorting to the use of a broad-based tax. The legislation should provide adequate revenue from taxes on industries associated with the hazardous waste problems Superfund is used to clean up. The broad-based tax runs counter to this "polluter pays" concept. Further, S. 51's value added tax would be very costly and complex to administer;

The President's senior advisors will recommend disapproval of any legislation containing a value-added or other broad-based tax.

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: S. 51 - Superfund Improvement Act of 1985 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project