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Underground storage tanks that leak hazardous substances can contaminate nearby groundwater and soil. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), tank owners and operators are primarily responsible for paying to clean up releases from their tanks.
In March 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule that will limit emissions of mercury--a toxic element that causes neurological problems--from coal-fired power plants, the nation's largest industrial source of mercury emissions.
Brownfields are properties whose use may be hindered by the threat of contamination. Cleaning up and redeveloping these properties can protect human health and the environment and provide economic benefits.
On February 18, 2004, we issued a report updating the appropriations and expenditure data for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund program that we included in our July 2003 report on the status of the program.
In 1992, the United States and other parties, including both developed and developing nations, agreed to try to limit dangerous human interference with the climate by participating in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Congress established the Superfund program in 1980 to clean up highly contaminated hazardous waste sites. Among other things, the law established a trust fund to help the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pay for cleanups and related program activities.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and several states reviewed by GAO have established financial assistance programs to encourage the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of brownfields. The programs run by EPA and the states differ in certain aspects, however.