Environmental Protection:

EPA's Fiscal Year 1998 Superfund Budget

RCED-98-15R: Published: Oct 3, 1997. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) fiscal year (FY) 1998 Superfund budget request, focusing on whether the EPA based its budgetary requirements on the most current available information. GAO concentrated its review on 58 Superfund sites because approximately $620 million, or 95 percent of the additional $650 million requested for FY 1998, is directed toward these sites.

GAO noted that: (1) EPA's FY 1998 Superfund budget request to clean up the 58 Superfund sites is potentially overstated by $205 million because EPA used historical cost data from FY 1987 through 1995 as the basis for its request, rather than the more recent cost information that was available to the agency when it prepared its budget request; (2) for 27 of these sites, EPA had the more recent cost estimates that were provided by the EPA regions responsible for the cleanups; (3) while such estimates are not available for the other 31 sites, EPA's most recent data suggest that the cost of cleaning up these sites could be substantially less than the amount the agency has requested; and (4) EPA's data show that cleanup costs during recent years have been substantially reduced, which EPA has attributed in part to administrative improvements in the Superfund program, such as standardized remedies for cleaning up certain types of sites.

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