Interim Assessment of EPA's Enforcement Program

RCED-89-40BR: Published: Oct 12, 1988. Publicly Released: Nov 16, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund Program to determine whether EPA: (1) used its enforcement tools effectively to clean up hazardous waste sites; (2) could do a better job of recovering cleanup costs from potentially responsible parties; and (3) had the necessary framework to plan, manage, and oversee the program.

GAO found that EPA: (1) continued to have problems with the adequacy and timeliness of its search for potentially responsible parties liable for site cleanup; (2) inconsistently tracked and followed up on the information request letters it used to establish potential liability; (3) did not fully document its reasons for not using unilateral administrative orders to compel responsible-party site cleanup; (4) did not timely issue special-notice letters used to start negotiations for responsible-party cleanups; and (5) had accounting system problems that hampered its efforts to recover the Superfund money it used to clean up contaminated sites.

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