Little Use Made of Techniques to Reduce Legal Expenses

T-RCED-93-60: Published: Jun 30, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1993.

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GAO discussed possible ways to reduce the costs of negotiating settlements or litigating liability for cleaning up hazardous waste sites in the Superfund program. GAO noted that: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made little use of settlement tools; (2) EPA has not made an effort to encourage regional offices to use settlement tools or determined what resources regions need to implement settlement tools; (3) EPA has been concerned with getting as many responsible party-financed cleanups under way as possible; (4) the use of settlement tools has been limited by restrictive administrative procedures that make the tools difficult to implement; (5) EPA began to give settlement tools a higher priority following widespread complaints about high transaction costs; and (6) expanded use of mixed funding tools could be expensive for the government and complicate settlement negotiations.

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