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     The Superfund legislation marked up Wednesday by a House subcommittee rolls back public health and environmental protection.  The bill undermines the cleanup progress achieved by the Administration over the past six years by delaying cleanups, encourages new waves of litigation, and shifts the cost of cleaning up toxic waste sites from polluters to the American taxpayer.

     The bill carves out major exemptions for large corporate polluters and special interests.  It fails to replenish the Superfund Trust Fund, continuing the four year "tax holiday" now enjoyed by the largest industrial generators of toxic waste.  It limits federal enforcement authorities for cleanups that Americans depend upon to protect their health and the environment.  The bill cuts cleanup spending, reduces the number and of pace of cleanups, creates more opportunities for lawyers and litigation in place of the faster cleanups and more cost effective cleanups that we have been able to achieve under today's Superfund program.

     EPA strongly supports the responsible Superfund alternative offered by Congressman Towns (D-NY) at the markup that is favored by many of the members.  The alternative bill supports the cleanup and the development of brownfields by providing federal grants and loans and addresses the liability concerns of innocent landowners, contiguous property owners and prospective purchases.  Further, the alternative bill provides liability relief for small business and recyclers without shifting cleanup costs to the American taxpayer.

     We still hope to work with Congress in a bi-partisan manner to enact a responsible bill that is cost effective and provides real protection for the one in four Americans living within four miles of a toxic waste site.