WASHINGTON-Even backing off from repealing retroactive liability, the House and Senate Republican Superfund reform bills fall short of what the Clinton administration wants, according to the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. ``We will be continuing to work for Superfund reform that protects the American people, not American polluters,'' Carol M. Browner said at a press conference Oct. 2.
Ms. Browner called the press conference to announce a set of 20 administrative reforms to Superfund which, she said, capped a two-year effort by the EPA to make the program faster, fairer and more efficient.
Among the reforms Ms. Browner announced were:
Establishing new procedures, including creation of a new EPA National Remedy Review Board, to control remedy costs and promote cost-effectiveness;
Compensating settling parties for a portion of ``orphan shares,'' or costs attributable to insolvent polluters;
Adopting private party cost allocations as the basis for Superfund settlements; and
Doubling the number of ``small party'' polluters protected from third-party lawsuits.
Still, she said, ``administrative reforms can only do so much. Ultimately, Congress must change the law if we are to protect public health and the environment for the one in four Americans who live near a toxic waste dump.''
The House and Senate reform packages provide ``too many loopholes'' for the largest polluters to escape paying their fair share through credits or tax rebates, she said.
Ms. Browner also noted the Republican Congress isn't authorizing enough money to fund its own Superfund proposal. Sen. Robert Smith, R-N.H., put the cost of implementing his Superfund bill at about $1.75 billion, she said, but the EPA funding bill for fiscal 1996 authorizes only $1 billion.