WASHINGTON-A number of business organizations, including the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and the National Federation of Independent Business, have joined a coalition pushing passage of Superfund reform legislation in this Congress. Called the Superfund Reform Group, the coalition was formed in Washington early in August. Its chairwoman is Jo Ann Emerson, vice president of public affairs for the American Insurance Association and wife of Rep. William Emerson, R-Mo.
The Republican Conference is behind the coalition's formation, according to Daniel Zielinski of the American Insurance Association-one of several coalitions the conference has backed to gather support for various provisions in the GOP's ``Contract with America.''
It is difficult to say how many organizations have joined the coalition to date, according to NFIB legislative representative K.C. McKee. ``There have been 40 or 50 industry representatives at each meeting,'' she said. ``But some of them represent more than one group, so the actual membership is probably more.''
The NTDRA joined the group when the coalition it previously belonged to, Superfund 95, signed on to the new organization, a spokesman said, adding that the association is ``active'' in supporting the new group.
The NFIB is taking an official leadership role in the coalition, according to Ms. McKee. ``Right now we're in the grassroots stage, trying to get people together. But it's pretty much in the early stages.''
However, a split may be developing between coalition members. The insurance industry has endorsed the Superfund reform plan of Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, which eliminates retroactive liability for all contributions to hazardous waste sites made before 1987.
``Once the Oxley plan is out as a bill, our group will do everything in its power to secure its passage,'' Mr. Zielinski said.
On the Senate side, Sen. Robert Smith, R-N.H., also has proposed eliminating retroactive liability, but only prior to 1980.
Mr. Zielinski said his group will try to convince Mr. Smith and the Senate to accept a later cutoff date for retroactivity.