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Highlights

GAO discussed its review of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) oversight of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) cleanup agreement compared to that of a private site. GAO found that: (1) the agreement delegated cleanup responsibilities among the Army, EPA, and Minnesota; (2) EPA planned to use its private-sector work-load statistics to estimate regional staffing and contractor resource needs until it developed federal facility standards; (3) the TCAAP site required more work than average sites because of the extent of contamination, the site size, the affected population, and the number of participants and contractors involved; (4) while the Army conducted the on-base investigation and Minnesota conducted the off-base investigations, a private party would do all of that work; and (5) EPA may spend as much as $300,000 for oversight and technical assistance. GAO also found that: (1) the agreement facilitated collaboration among the parties and greatly improved their communications; (2) although the parties have either met their document deadlines or requested extensions, both the Army and the state would not complete their investigations until after the required deadlines; (3) the differences between private and federal oversight concerned permit requirements, financing, unexpected events, oversight costs, and document review; and (4) future agreements may differ because a model agreement reduced oversight procedures, halved the number of approvals, and provided a dispute resolution process.

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