Enviro-Newsbrief September 20, 1995
The following is a daily update providing news of interest
to EPA staff. It includes information from current news sources,
including newspapers, newsletters, and other publications. For
more information, contact the EPA Headquarters Library at (202)
260-5921, or e-mail LIBRARY-HQ.
** SUPERFUND **
Commerce Committee Draft Would Shift Remediation Wastes to State
Programs. Daily Environment Report, September 20, 1995, pp. AA-
The House Commerce Committee has offered a discussion draft
to reform the superfund law that would exempt hazardous site
cleanups from federal hazardous waste management standards if the
cleanup is administered by a federally certified state. For
states that are not federally certified, industries would need to
comply with federal corrective action regulations for the
remediation of hazardous wastes. The federal certification would
also exempt states from hazardous waste permitting, land disposal
restrictions, minimum technology requirement, and underground
injection control under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Two sections of the draft superfund legislation have been
released by the committee's staff Republicans. The first
section, Title I of the reauthorization draft, would develop new
risk assessment standards, revise the national contingency plan,
and create a new hazard ranking system. The second section,
Title IX, would amend RCRA, modifying the remedy selection
provisions for RCRA corrective action procedures and shifting the
administration and enforcement responsibilities to the states.
The text of the House discussion drafts for Title I and IX are
available in the September 20th issue of the Daily Environment
Report in Section E.
State Cleanup Systems More Effective Than U.S. Superfund Program,
Report Says. Daily Environment Report, September 20, 1995, p. A-
In a report released from the Reason Foundation, "Cleaning
Up Superfund: The Case for State Environmental Leadership," the
author J. Winston Porter states, "Unlike most federal
environmental programs, an alternative approach to Superfund is
already in place and appears to be doing a much better job. This
approach involves the 40-plus state superfund-type programs."
Porter reports that per 1,000 sites, states spend an average of
$700 million annually on remediation while the EPA spends roughly
$1 billion. "Many states have shown that they can remediate
sites in much less time and at lower cost than the federal
program," Porter states, adding that California and New York have
cleaned up over than 200 sites, more than the total of the sites
remediated by federal efforts.
** ENVIRONMENTAL TASK FORCE **
Gingrich to Announce New GOP Task Force on Environment Soon, Rep.
Boehlert Says. Daily Environment Report, September 20, 1995, pp.
A new Republican task force on the environmnet is expected
to be created during the week of September 25th, the same week
the EPA FY96 budget proposal will be considered. Under the
leadership of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), the task force will
attempt to do "a better job of educating and sensitizing
Republicans to environmental issues." The task force will
consider reauthorizing the Clean Water Act during this Congress,
and eliminating the riders to the EPA funding bill.
** ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION **
The Green Card: Environment. National Journal, September 16,
1995, p. 2262.
Reporter Margaret Kriz reviews the players and positions in
upcoming campaign and legislative activity relating to
environmental issues. Interviews with Republican and Democratic
pollsters reveal that more voters may wish to maintain strong
Federal environmental protections than conservative Republican
legislators now acknowledge. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)
discusses issues from the perspective of a moderate Republican
who supports relatively strong protections.
The experiences of several legislators home for the August
recess are related: Reps. Thomas Davis (R-VA) and Martin Hoke (R-
OH) both faced complaints from constituents about their voting
records and concerns about the direction the Republicans were
The stepped-up communications activities of several advocacy
groups, including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation
Voters, are described. Radio advertisements, videotapes, and
petitions are directed at convincing voters that the environment
is an issue, in contrast to the analysis of several Republican
authorities, who say that the public is "not particularly
concerned about the environment."
The legislative tactic of attaching conservative
environmental policy initiatives to budget bills and other
omnibus legislation is discussed. A Clinton Administration
official wonders how much energy should be expended to address
these additions to otherwise-major legislation: "how many of the
90 things that are wrong with a bill have to be fixed before you
sign it?" The official predicts that "every single bill that's
controversial will end up having some awful environmental things
** BUDGET **
Stopgap Bill Remains Unresolved: Administration Objects To
Funding Formula. The Washington Post, September 20, 1995, p. A4.
The Clinton Administration has labelled the latest
Republican legislative proposal for a continuing resolution to
keep government in operation despite lack of agreement on
appropriations legislation for fiscal year 1996 as
"unacceptable." Chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations
committees have designed a plan that would fund each government
program through November 8th at the lowest of one of three
levels: the House's 1996 proposal, the Senate's 1996 proposal, or
the 1995 level. Programs targeted by Congress for elimination
would be funded at minimal levels negotiated individually with
the White House.
The Administration has supported a plan recently rejected by
Congress that would have administered across-the-board agency
funding cuts of 1% during continuing-resolution operations, with
the intention of holding off policy decisions about the federal
budget during appropriations negotiations. "We want a clean
resolution and one that meets the spending-cut targets without
being selectively biased against either side's priorities," said
White House economic advisor Gene Sperling.
** STATES **
Unfit Stewards: Don't Count On States To Protect The Environment.
The New York Times, September 20, 1995, p. A21.
In this op-ed column, Sam Schuchat, Executive Director of
the California League of Conservation Voters, asserts that states
are not ready to assume the task of protecting the environment
without the federal government. Schuchat lists a number of
actions taken by state legislatures that "in many cases...curb
the public's ability to act on, or even find out about, threats
to the environment....If the states and Congress continue on
their current path, in a few years Americans may discover that
the campaign to make these laws more 'democratic' in fact made
State legislative initiatives described by Mr. Schuchat
include California modifications to state's Environmental Quality
Act, Maine reductions of funding for water quality programs,
Arizona immunity status for polluting companies against citizen
suits, Oregon invalidation of local legislation with stronger-
than-state pesticide standards, Wisconsin reductions in the role
of the Department of Resources public advocate, and various
states offer compensation to property owners for "reduction in
market value" due to environmental regulations and immunization
from liability for polluting companies if they "turn themselves
** ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE **
On The Hill, Regional Interests Advance At Cost Of Party
Solidarity. The Washington Post, September 20, 1995, p. A6.
In an article outlining how some key ideological policy
battles are being decided on the basis of "regional interests,"
the outcome of the attempt to turn the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge into a national monument is described. "President Clinton
rejected ...appeals to designate the...Refuge a national monument
to block congressional efforts to open part of it up to oil
drilling." Opponents now hope for a presidential veto of the
budget reconciliation legislation, which contains the language
opening up the Refuge.