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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to remove barriers to hazardous waste cleanup, focusing on: (1) cleanups of remediation waste at sites subject to the three Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements; and (2) the management factors that had slowed the pace of cleanups under the corrective action program in particular.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Environmental Protection Agency 1. To achieve more cleanup progress in the corrective action program, the Administrator, EPA, should direct the Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response to: (1) establish long-term and annual goals that delineate the number or portion of facilities that are implementing final cleanup actions; and (2) identify the additional funding the program would need to achieve these goals and consider these needs during annual budget deliberations.
Closed - Implemented
With regard to part one of this recommendation, in January 2000, as part of a second round of reforms to the Corrective Action Program, EPA added the long-term goal of achieving final cleanup at all RCRA corrective action facilities to its existing performance goals. In addition, two of the 2001 reform measures--efforts to pilot innovative approaches and to accelerate changes in the culture of implementors and stakeholders--are actions that respond to problems GAO identified and are designed to expedite achievement of final cleanup while achieving near-term goals. Consequently, GAO is closing part one of this recommendation. With regard to part two of this recommendation, according to EPA, the agency did not, and most likely will not, ask for additional monies for the corrective action program because of competing demands for funds within the agency. Therefore, GAO is closing this recommendation.

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