Status of the Superfund Trust Fund

RCED-98-152R: Published: Apr 16, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 1998.

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Peter F. Guerrero
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the Superfund Trust Fund, focusing on the: (1) amount of Trust Fund resources available for appropriation in future years if the taxes that expired in 1995 are not reinstated; and (2) existence of any impediments to funding the Superfund program from general revenues.

GAO noted that: (1) as of September 30, 1997, the unappropriated balance in the Trust Fund was about $2.63 billion; (2) for fiscal year (FY) 1998, Congress made $1.5 billion available for the Superfund program--$1.25 billion from the unappropriated Trust Fund balance and $250 million from general revenues--leaving a balance of about $1.38 billion potentially available for future appropriations; (3) in addition, the Trust Fund is projected to receive income during FY 1998 of about $396 million; (4) with this projection, about $1.78 billion may be available in the Trust Fund for future appropriations by the end of FY 1998; (5) the availability of Trust Fund resources for appropriation beyond FY 1999 is less certain and depends on variables such as the amount actually made available to the Environmental Protection Agency for FY 1999, and the actual amount of interest and recoveries realized in FY 1998 and FY 1999; and (6) GAO's discussions with executive and legislative branch officials and GAO's own research did not identify any provision in law or the congressional budget agreement that would preclude funding the Superfund program entirely from general revenues.

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