Progress, Problems, and Reauthorization Issues

T-RCED-93-27: Published: Apr 21, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 1993.

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GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) management and future reauthorization of the Superfund Program. GAO noted that: (1) although the Superfund program has had limited success in cleaning up hazardous waste sites and responding to emergency releases on hazardous substances, EPA needs to address streamlining the cleanup process, controlling program costs, the effectiveness of cleanup actions, and what level of federal funding is appropriate; (2) the cleanup process has remained slow due to delays in site evaluation, technological limitations, and cleanup site complexity; (3) the cost of cleanup is high as a result of high administrative costs, poor contract administration, limited recovery of cleanup costs from responsible parties, high operational and maintenance costs, and legal costs; and (4) EPA lacks the ability to assess the effectiveness of Superfund cleanup efforts because few cleanup sites have been completed and unreliable cost and efficacy data hamper its use of innovative technologies.

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