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Press Conference at Industri-plex Site

 Carol M. Browner

Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Press Conference at Industri-plex Site

                            Woburn, MA

                      Prepared for Delivery
                        January 21, 1996

The Superfund program has removed dangerous toxic waste from hundreds of communities like this one. It has protected millions of Americans from serious health risks. And it has prevented untold amounts of future pollution.

For two and a half years, the Clinton Administration has taken aggressive action to make Superfund work faster, fairer, and more efficiently, to clean up toxic dumpsites and return them to productive community use. In the past two years, we have completed more cleanups than in the entire first decade of the Superfund program -- and we have reduced the cost of Superfund cleanups by 25

But we have not finished the job. One in four Americans still lives near a toxic dumpsite. Here in Massachusetts, 30 Superfund sites need to be cleaned up.

Yet Republicans in Congress have launched a concerted attack on the Superfund program and on public health and environmental protection as a whole.

The Republican budget would cut back enforcement against irresponsible polluters. It would mean sewage and toxic waste in our rivers, lakes, and beaches, and contamination in our drinking water. And it would cut funding for hazardous waste cleanups -- telling communities across this country, no, we won't clean up that site.

And if we do clean it up, they're not sure the polluter should pay. In the Republican proposal to reform Superfund, the taxpayers would be told to pay to clean up pollution they didn't cause. Passing this Republican bill would mean passing on the toxic legacy of abandoned waste sites to our children and our children's children.

Already, the Republican attack is causing serious disarray in our effort to protect public health and our environment. During the government shutdown, scores of Superfund cleanups came to a halt.

Last week, the shutdown ended, but EPA is still operating under a reduced budget that limits our ability to protect public health and our environment -- not to mention a tremendous backlog. If we must continue to operate with a greatly reduced budget, those cutbacks in protecting public health and our environment will continue, and we will have to delay resuming cleanups at sites across the country.

Over the past 25 years, Americans of both parties have united in the firm belief that to safeguard public health, we must protect our air, our water, and our land. And together, we have made tremendous progress -- progress of which we should be proud.

Now, Republican leaders are saying we should stop the progress of the last 25 years -- that we have done enough to protect our environment. But the job is not done.

President Clinton firmly believes we can balance the budget while upholding American values. We can and we must continue the public health and environmental progress of the past 25 years. We must not allow special interests and polluters to get special deals at the expense of American families and American communities.