United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 -- . Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division B-277797 September 24, 1997 The Honorable Bud Shuster Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure House of Representatives Subject: Sunerfund: Duration of the Cleanun Process at Hazardous Waste Sites on the National Priorities List Dear Mr. Chairman: In congressional testimony in February 1997l and in a March 1997 report,2 we discussed the tune that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took to complete the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in its Superfund program. We said that the cleanup of sites completed in fiscal year 1996 had taken an average of 10.6 years. We also said that the length of time to complete cleanups at sites had increased over the history of the program. In responding to our report, EPA said that our analysis did not reflect recent improvements in the Super-fund program, which, it said, were speeding up the pace of cleanups. EPA presented data showing that some sites that were recently added to the National Priorities List (NPL) had been cleaned up in less time than that for earlier sites.3 Moreover, EPA said that it expected that the sites listed in 1993 through 1996 would be cleaned up in an average of 8 years. ‘Superfind: Times to Assess and Clean Up Hazardous Waste Sites Exceed Program Goals (GAO/T-RCED-97-69, Feb. 13, 1997). Testimony before the Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs, House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. ?!3uperfund: Times to Complete the Assessment and Cleanup of Hazardous Waste Sites (GAO/RCED-97-20, Mar. 31, 1997). 3We believe that the completed sites referred to by EPA are too small a segment of the recently listed sites to reliably indicate how long the cleanup of recently listed sites will take, on average. The great majority of recently listed sites are still in the cleanup process. GAOIRCED-97-238RDuration of Superfund Cleanups /??~~a -- . B-277797 You asked us to compare EPA’s estimate of future cleanup times with the program’s historical performance. We did this by calculating, for the sites that began the cleanup process in fiscal years 1986 through 1994, (1) how long it took to clean up completed sites and (2) how long the uncompleted sites have been in the cleanup process. BACKGROUND In 1980, the Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, known as Super-fund, to clean up highly contaminated hazardous waste sites. EPA places the sites that qualify for long- term Superfund cleanup action on the NPL. As of November 1996, 1,205 sites were on the NPL. Once listed on the NPL, a Superfund site may be divided into “operable units” corresponding to different physical areas at the site or different environmental media (such as soil or groundwater) to be cleaned up. Sites (or operable units, if a site is subdivided) pass through various processing phases that include studies of the sites’ risks, the selection and design of cleanup remedies, and the implementation of the cleanup remedies. This last phase is called “remedial action.” Some sites may complete remedial action faster than others, and still others may not reach remedial action at all. The calculation of the duration of the cleanup process from a site’s listing on the NPL through remedial action is straightforward for any given site. However, until all sites have completed remedial action, the average length of time needed to complete remedial action for the NPL’s entire inventory will be uncertain. EPA has estimated that the cleanup durations for sites listed in 1993 through 1996 will average 8 years. RESULTS IN BRIEF As of July 1, 1997, remedial action had been completed at 13 percent (95) of the 752 sites placed on the National Priorities List* in fiscal years 1986 through 1994. These remedial actions were completed in an average of 6.3 years after the sites were listed. As of the same date, remedial action had not been completed at 87 percent (657) of the sites listed in fiscal years 1986 through 1994. These uncompleted sites had been in the cleanup process an average of 8.1 years, that is, they had been listed on the National Priorities List an average of 8.1 years earlier. Assuming that all remedial actions at these “in process” sites had been completed on July 1, 1997, the average cleanup duration for all sites listed on the National Priorities List during the g-year period would have *At all operable units. 2 GAO/RCED-97-238R Duration of Superfimd Cleanups -- . B-277797 been 7.9 years5 almost as long as EPA’s 8-year estimate of the cleanup time for recently listed sites. But because such a large proportion of the sites listed in the g-year period are still in process, the average cleanup time for these sites will exceed 8 years, possibly by a substantial margin. Furthermore, for EPA to meet its 8-year estimate for cleaning up recently listed sites will require much faster cleanup times than the program has produced in the past. CLEANUP ACTMTIES HAVE ALREADY TAKEN ALMOST 8 YEARS In order to calculate the duration of the Super-fund process-from a site’s listing on the NPL to its completion of remedial action-for the sites listed in fiscal years 1986 though 1994, we allocated the sites into two groups according to their cleanup status as of July 1, 1997. The first group contains those sites whose entire set of operable units has completed remedial action. For these sites, we calculated duration from the date of the site’s listing to the date of the completion of the last remedial action at the site’s operable units. Approximately 13 percent (95 of 752) of the sites listed in fiscal years 1986 through 1994 were in this group. The second group contains the 87 percent (657 of 75.2) of the sites listed in fiscal years 1986 through 1994 where not all operating units have completed remedial action. (See table 1.) 5Represents the weighted average of cleanup times for completed sites and processing times for uncompleted sites. 3 GAOIRCED-97-238R Duration of Superfuud Cleanups -- . B-277797 Table 1: Averaae Durations for (11 Comoleted Sites From Listina to Comoletion of Rsmedial Action and (21 Uncomoleted Sites From Listina to Julv 1, 1997. bv Fiscal Year of Listinq 1992 0 0 1993 0 33 4.7 1994 0 43 3.1 Total 95 6.3 657 8.1 aRepresents time from listing on the NPL to the completion of remedial action at all operable units. bRepresents processing time from listing on the NPL to July 1, 1997, for sites where remedial actions had not been completed at all operable units. 4 GAOIRCED-97-238R Duration of Superfund Cleanups B-277797 For the 95 sites where remedial action has been completed, the average duration from listing to completion was 6.3 years. These 95 sites contained 115 operable units, all of which have completed remedial action. The 657 sites that have at least one operable unit that has not completed remedial action had already been in the Super-fund process for an average of 8.1 years as of July 1, 1997. Combining the weighted average durations for these two groups shows the average time taken so far on cleanup activities-a combined duration of 7.9 years. Because of the amount of remaining cleanup work, the actual average cleanup time can only exceed this combined average. For example, only 1 of the 82 sites listed since fiscal year 1991 has been cleaned up, and 138 of the 170 sites listed in fiscal 1986 have not yet been cleaned up. SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY Our analysis was based on data supplied by EPA showing the cleanup status for all sites listed on the NPL in fiscal years 1986 through 1994. The data came from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System-EPA’s primary database for the Super-fund program. These data showed the sites that had completed remedial action as of July 1, 1997, and the processing stage of sites where remedial actions had not been completed. We chose the fiscal year 1986-94 period for our analysis because the last major legislative changes were made to the program in fiscal 1986 and because few cleanups would have been completed on the sites listed after fiscal 1994. We performed our work from June 1997 through September 1997 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We did not verify the accuracy of the data EPA sent to us. However, the database came from EPA’s Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, which is responsible for Superfund cleanups. AGENCY COMMENTS We provided EPA with copies of a draft of this report for review and comment. EPA maintains that cleanup time frames are and will be decreasing because recent policy decisions will shorten the cleanup times for sites that were listed more recently. EPA noted that our study ended in fiscal year 1994, reflecting only the frrst year that the current reforms were implemented. EPA expressed concern that our report does not focus on the recent improvements in the time taken to clean up Superfund sites in comparison with the time taken to clean up the sites listed in the early years of the program. EPA also noted that insufficient time had passed to assess the impact of all of the current program reforms and that anecdotal information will be the best available data for the next 3 to 5 years. EPA’s comments appear in enclosure I. 5 GAO/RCED-97-238R Duration of Superfund Cleanups -- . B-277797 Our objective was to estimate the cleanup times for all sites listed during the 9- y&u- period, fiscal years 1986 through 1994, so that we could calculate (1) how long it took to clean up the completed sites and (2) how long the uncompleted sites have been in the cleanup process. Ex amining the impact of EPA’s recent reforms was not within the scope of this review. Regarding EPA’s concern that our analysis attempts to project future trends, we are not making such projections; rather, our report presents the minimum average time-8 years-that it would take for all sites currently in the inventory to be cleaned up. As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 15 days after the date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies to the Administrator of EPA. We will also make copies available to others on request. Please call me at (202) 512-6111if you or your staff have any questions about this’report. Major contributors to this report were Alice Feldesman and Mitchell Karpman. Sincerely yours, Peter F. Guerrero Director, Environmental Protection Issues Enclosure GAO/RCED-97-238R Duration of Superfund Cleanups -- ._ ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I COMMENTS FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY UNITED STATESENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY WASHINGTON. D.C. 20460 OFFICE OF SOLID WASTE AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE PeterF. Guerrero Director Environmental Protection Issues U. S General Accounting Office Washington,DC 20548 Dear Mr. Guetrero: Thank you for the opportunity to review and commenton the Draft Report entitled “Superfund: Duration of the CleanupProcessat HazardousWaste Sites on the National Priorities List (GAO/ RCED-97-238R) and the Draft Fact Sheet“EPA’s Fiscal Year 1998 SuperfUnd Budget.” This letter formally transmits our commentson thesedraft documents. EPA has shown improvementsin the time requiredto cleanup Superfund sites as reflected in the fact that more siteshave beencompletedin the past four yearsthan were completed in the first twelve years of the program. Our reform efforts havebeenkey to this success. However, as demonstratedin our attachedcomments,we are concernedthat not enough time has passedto see the results of all of our reforms in a statisticaily significantway in terms of averagetime savingsor cost. However, we feel the anecdotalresults demonstratedin the FY 1996 Superfund Administrative Reforms &ual Report are good measuresof the successof our reform efforts. In addition, we have provided a chart which demonstratesa trend toward reduced durations. We feel this is an analysiswhich appropriately depictsprogrammatictrends. EPA’s discussionswith GAO on the FY 1998President’sBudget request took place during the sametime period that significant datagathering for severalCongressionaloffices was underway. Our projection methodsestimatedan incrementalneedof approximately $650 million in FY 1998 to addressthe site backlog and acceleratecleanupin the Superfund program. The results of our more current site-by-site anaiysii’have demonstratedthat our budget projections were sound and validated our needfor the incrementalfunding. It is my understanding that your office has received this updated site specific information which supersedesthe resource estimates madeover a year ago and which should be the foundation for validating our FY 1998 budget request. Again we thank you for the opportunity to review these draft documents and hope our commentswill be strongly consideredas the report and fact sheetare finalized. Should you have 7 GAO/RCED-97-238B Duration of Superfund Cleanups -- ._ ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I -2- any questionsor concernsregardingthesecomments,pleasecontact Robin Richardsonat (703)603-8912. q&b. L+$ StephenD. Luftig Director Office of Emergencyand RemedialResponse Enclosures cc: Timothy Fields, Jr. StevenA. Herman SallyanneHarper Cliff Rothenstein Barry Breen SteveTiber 8 GAOIRCED-97-238R Duration of Superfund Cleanups -- . ENCLOSURE1 ENCLOSURE1 U.S. EPA Comment% Sum&mm DURATION OF THE CLEANUP PROCESS AT B~AZARDOUS WASTE SITES ON THE NATIONAL FRIOEUTIESLIST (GAOIRCED-97-238R, Job Code 140398) EPA estimatesthat cleanuptimeframesare and will be decreasingas more sites are cleanedup under the administrative reforms. However, the draft GAO report suggeststhat the time necessaryto complete site cleanupwill exceedcurrent EPA projections. GAO’s study ends in the 1994 fiscal year, reflecting only the first year of the current reforms implementation.Our commentsto GAO’s previous (March 1997) noted that insufficient time had passedto seeall of the quantifiable and statisticahy significantchangesin durations attributable to the three rounds of administrative reforms. EPA remainsconcernedwith the draft findings in the current report because,lacking this durations data, it is not possibleto adequatelyvalidate the impactsof all of the very important improvementsin the Super-fundcleanup process. Anecdotal information will be the bestavailable data for the next 3-5 years. Our concernsarise becausethis analysisattempts to project future trends basedon a universeof data which highlights earlier decisionprocesses. EPA recommendsutiliing the programguidanceon durations cited by GAO in the March report on durations and reviewing individual pipeline milestonedurations basedon the statt date of the activity in order to reflect the policies in place at the time the activity began. Below is a chart which displays the individual milestonedurations for eachdiscrete pipeline activity, demonstratingprogram trends in more detail than the current GAO report. Again, basedon these individual cleanup event durations, EPA estimatesthat cleanuptimeframesare and will be decreasing as more sitesare cleanedup under the administrative reforms. , Superfund I Shorter Remedial Clean-up Projects at Superfund Sites T Dursrronr " r The truest current measuresof durationssuccesscan be seenin the site-specificexamples presentedin the FY 1996 Supetfimd Administrative Reforms Annual Report. Additionally, the SuperfLnd Reforms Project report displaysthe reductions in time and cost which have been realized through the reforms. Thesereports show real reductions in the time to achievecleanupat many Superfund sites. (160398) 9 GAOIRCED-97-238R Duration of Superfund Cleanups Ordering Information The frrst copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. 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For information on how to access GAO reports on the INTERNET, send an e-mail message with “info” in the body to: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit GAO’s World Wide Web Home Page at: httpY/www.gao.gov United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548-0001 Official Business Penalty for Private Use $300 Address Correction Reauested United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548-0001 I Permit No. GlOO Ofticial Business Penalty for Private Use $300 Address Correction Requested Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and Mastercard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Orders by mail: U.S. General Accounting Office P-0. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 2OS84-6015 or visit: Room 1100 700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. NW) U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, DC Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000 or by using fax number (301) 258-4066, or TDD (301) 413-0006. Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and testimony. To receive facsimile copies of the daily list or any list from the past 30 days, please call (202) 512-6000 using a touchtone phone. A recorded menu will provide information on how to obtain these lists. For information on how to access GAO reports on the INTERNET, send an e-mail message with “info” in the body to: email@example.com PRINTED ON a@ RECYCLED PAPER ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE 11-153 Safe Streets Anti-Prostitution Legislative ~November 9, 1995 Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-154 Budget Support Legislative Review November 9, 1995 Emergency Act of 1995 11-161 Establishment of the John A. Wilson November 27, 1995 Build& Foundation Emergency Act of 1995 11-162 Acquisition of Space Needs For District ~November 27; 1995 Governmeut Officers and Employees Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-167 Department of Corrections Employee November 28, 1995 Mandatory Drug and Alcohol Testing Emergency Act of 1995 Total ~76 (901694) GAO/AIMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 18 .ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE .l-125 Council Contract Approval Emergency July 28, 1995 hnendment Act of 1995 .l-133 Safe Streets Anti-Prostitution Emergency August 11, 1995 hnendment Act of 1995 U-137 Budget Support Emergency Act of 1995. August 14, 1995 11-138 Rktal of Public Structures in Public Space August 15, 1995 Emergency Act of 1995 11-140 415 12th Street, N.W., Lease Conditional September 29, 1995 Approval Emergency Act of 1995 11-141 800 Ninth Street, S.W., Lease Approval October 6, 1995 Emergency Act of 1995 11-142 Closing of a Portion of G Street, N.W., and October 12, 1995 a Portion of a Public Alley in Square 454, SO. 95 t, Emergency Act of 1995 11-143 Rental of Public Structures in Public Space October 23, 1995 Zchgressional Review Emergency Act of 1995 11-144 Solid Waste Facility Permit Emergency Act October 23, 1995 of 1995 11-145 Community Development Corporations October 23, 1995 Money Lender License Exemption Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-148 Real Property Tax Rates for Tax Year 1996 October 26, 1995 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-149 Council Contract Approval Modification October 27, 1995 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-151 Health Senrices Planning and Certificate of November 9, 1995 Need Program Emergency Act of 1995 11-152 Interference with Medical Facilities and November 9, 1995 Health Professionals Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1995 GAO/AIMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 17 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE 11-103 Reorganization No. 2 of 1995 to Transfer to the Mayor Certain Discretionary Authority 11-121 Equitable Relief for Vendors Emergency Review Emergency Act of 1995 GAO/AIMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 16 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE .l-78 Vending Site Lottery and Assignment June 28, 1995 4mendment Emergency Act of 1995 ,l-79 Probate Reform Act of 1994 Emergency June 28, 1995 ktendment Act of 1995 11-80 Unemployment Compensation Public June 28, 1995 khool Employees Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-84 Vendor Payment Emergency Act of 1995 June 30, 1995 11-86 Juvenile Curfew Emergency Act of 1995 July 6, 1995 11-87 HIV Testing of Certain Criminal Offenders July 6, 1995 Emergency Act of 1995 11-96 Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of July 19, 1995 1980Reenactment and Amendment Congressional RecessEmergency Act of 1995 11-97 Insurance Omnibus Congressional Recess July 19, 1995 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-98 Pennsylvania Avenue Development Area July 19, 1995 Farks and Plaza Public Safety Congressional Recess Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-99 Industrial Revenue Bond Forward July 19, 1995 Commitment Program Authorization Congressional Recess Emergency Act of 1995 11-100 Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1995 for the July 21, 1995 Department of Human Services and Department of _. Corrections Emergency Act of 1995 11-101 Extension of the Moratorium on Retail July 21, 1995 _- Service Station Conversions Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-102 Omnibus Sports Consolidation Act of 1994 July 21, 1995 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 GAO/AIMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 15 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE 11-48 Insurance Omnibus Emergency Amendment May 15, 1995 Act of 1995 11-49 Industrial Revenue Bond Forward May 15, 1995 Commitment Program Authorization Emeigency Act of 1995 11-50 Pennsylvania Avenue Development Area May 15, 1995 Parks and Plaza Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-57 Areha Tax Payment Emergency Amendment May 18, 1995 Act of 1995 11-58 Prohibition on the Transfer of Firearms May 18, 1995 Emergency Act .of 1995 11-60 Extension of the Equal Opportunity for June 13, 1995 Local, Small, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Act of 1992 Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-61 District of Columbia Campaign Finance June 13, 1995 Reform and Conflict of Interest Emergepcy Amendment Act of 1995 11-62 District of Cohmbia Board of Education June 16, 1995 Fees for Adult, Comrnuni~, and Continuing Education Courses Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-65 Public Safety Budget Support Emergency June 19, 1995 Amendment Act 6f 1995 11-66 Prevention of Transmission of the Human June 19, 1995 Immunodeficiency Virus Amendment Act of 1992 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-75 Child Support Enforcement Emergency June 19, 1995 Amendment Act of 1995 GAOhUMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 14 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE 11-15 Financial Accountability and Management February 28, 1995 kt Budget Submission Date Emergency Wendment Act of 1995 11-20 Recreation Emergency Act of 1995 February 28, 1995 11-25 Advisory Neighborhood Commission Special March 6, 1995 Election’ Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 . 11-29 Budget Implementation Emergency Act of March 15, 1995 1995 1130 Extension of the Equal Opportunity for March 15, 1995 Local, Small, and Disadvantaged Business ’ Enterprises Act of 1992 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-33 District of Columbia Campaign Finance March 22, 1995 Reform and Conflict of Interest Act of 1974 . Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-35 Human Services Spending Reduction April 11, 1995 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 1l-36 Emergency Assistance Clarification April 11, 1995 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 1l-37 Budget Implementation Exemption April 11, 1995 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 1l-42 Toll Telecommunication Emergency April 17, 1995 Amendment Act of 1995 11-43 Merit Personnel Early Out Retirement April 17, 1995 Revisions Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-44 Omnibus Budget Support Emergency Act of April 28, 1995 1995 11-47 Rental Housing Conversion and Sale Act of May 4, 1995 1980 Reenactment and Amendment Emergency Act of 1995 GAO/AIMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 13 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE Table 1.2: Emergencv Legislation Passed bv the Council of the District of ColumbiaJanuarv. 1995 to November. 191!5 Act Effective Date 11-1 Early Intervention Services Sliding Fee Scale January 18, 1995 Establishment Congressional Adjournment Emergency Act of 1995 11-2 Day Care Policy Congressional Adjournment January 18, 1995 Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-3 Prevention of the Spread of the Human January 18, 1995 Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Congressional Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-4 Child Support Enforcement CongressionaI January 19, 1995 Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-5 Armory Board Interim Authority January 19, 1995 Congressional Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 1l-6 ,Medicaid Benefits Protection Congressional February 8, 1995 Adiournment Emergencv Act of 1995 11-7 District Employee Benefits Free Clinic February 8, 1995 Extension Congressional Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 11-13 Budget Spending Reduction Congressional February 28,1995 Adiournment Emergencv Amendment Act of 1995 11-14 Homestead Deduction Limitation February 28, 1995 Applicability Date Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 I GAO/AIMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE 10-372 D.C. Resident Tax Credit Emergency December 27, 1994 Amendment Act of 1994 10-384 Solid Waste Facility Permit Emergency Act December 28, 1994 of 1994 10-389 Multiyear Budget Spending Reduction and December 29, 1994 Support Emergency Act of 1994 Total 62 GAO/m-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 11 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE lo-322 Child Support Enforcement Emergency August 4, 1994 Amendment Act of 1994 10-324 Cost of Living Adjustment Extension for August 18, 1994 Public Safety Personnel Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-325 Armory Board Interim Authority October 14, 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 lo-326 Public Assistance and Day Care Policy October 21, 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-327 Prevention of the Spread of the Human October 21, 1994 Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immtmodeficiency Syndrome Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-328 Child Support Enforcement .CongressionaI October 21; 1994 Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-329 Early Intervention Services Sliding Fee October 21, 1994 Scale Establishment Congressional Adjournment Emergency Act of 1994 10-330 Day Care Policy Congressional October 21, 1994 Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-339 Budget Spending Reduction Emergency November 22, 1994 Amendment Act of 1994 10-362 District of Columbia Board of Education December 15, 1994 Sale, Renovation, Lease-back, and Repurchase of Franklin School Congressional Adjournment Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-363 Commercial Piracy Protection Emergency December 15, 1.994 Amendment Act of 1994 10-366 Second Tax Revenue Anticipation Notes December 22, 1994 Emergency Act of 1994 GAO/AMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 10 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE 1 I I 3 tment and Amendment Emergency 1 1 mprehensive Plan 1kt of 1984 Land Use Element Emergency 1k-n&dment Act of 1994 1 1 LO-299 District of Columbia Board of Education 1 1 , N-311 American Architectural Foundation ,Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act / chool Emergency Amendment Act of IL GAOMMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 9 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE 10-240 Emergency Assistance Program May 12, 1994 Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-249 American Architectural Foundation May 18, 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-250 Public Utility Environmental Impact May 19, 1994 Statement Electrical Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-252 Hacker’s License Requirements May 18, 1994 Amendment Act of 1984 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-253 Medicaid Benefits Protection June- 17, 1994 Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1994 10-255 Omnibus Criminal Justice Reform June 22, 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-256 Miner Building Conveyance Emergency June 23, 1994 Amendment A& of 1994 10-25’7 Alcoholic Beverage Control Act and.Rules June 23, 1994 Reform Amendment Act of 1994 Emergency Technical Amendment Act of 1994 10-263 Metrobus Commercial Advertising June 24, 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-264 Unemployment Compensation Public June 24, 1994 School Employees Emergency ‘Amendment Act of 1994 10-267 General Obligation Bond Act of 1994 June 30, 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-268 Councilmembers’ Salary Freeze Emergency July 5, 1994 c Amendment Act of 1994 10-269 Recycling Fee and Illegal Dumping July 7, 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 GAO/AlMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 8 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE caid Benefits Protection Emergency 10-220 Real Property Statutory and F’iling _ Deadlines Conformity Emergency Amendment Act GAOMMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 7 ENCLOSURE ENCLOSURE Table 1.1: Emergencv Legislation Passed bv the Council of the District of Columbia-Januarv. 1994 to December, 1994 Act Effective Date 10-174 Health Care Provider Assessment January 25, 1994 Congressional Recess Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-175 Alternative Fuels Technology January 25, 1994 Congressional Recess Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-176 South Africa Sanctions Congressional January 25, 1994 Recess Emergency Repeal Act of 1994 10-177 Insurance Omnibus Congressional Recess January 25; 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-178 Patient Counseling Congressional .Recess January 25, 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-179 Rental Housing Act of 1985 Winter of 1994 January 25, 1994 Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-183 Health Care Provider Costs January 26, 1994 Reimbursement Commitment Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-184 Water Main Break Fund Establishment January 28, 1994 Congressional Recess Emergency Act of 1994 10-185 District of Columbia Solid Waste February 2, 1994 Management and Multi-Material Recycling Act of 1988 Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 10-187 Modified Guaranteed Contracts February 16, 1994 Congressional Recess Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 GAO/AIMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation 6 B-271115 not evade any required congressionallay and wait requirements6 Finally, based on our review of federal and District laws, we are not aware of anything prohibiting the District from adopting an emergency act to waive competitive procurement requirements for these two leases. -m-m- We are sending copies of this letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members of the Senateand House Committees on Appropriations and the Rankfng Minority Member of your Subcommittee. If you need further information, please contact me at (202) 612-9510or Hodge Herry, Assktant Director, at (202) 6129469. Enclosure ‘?he Home Rule Act does not require the District to submit individuakontracts or leasesto the Congressfor approval. Nor does the Home Rule Act require the District to pass an act before it may enter into an individual contract or lease. The District has enacted requirements similar to that set forth in section 304(b), of Public Law No. 104-8,with regard to the Mayor’s entering into certain leases or contracts. D.C. Code Ann. Sets. 1-336(c) and l-1181.6a do not require the Council to pass an act and have it lay and wait before the Congressbefore a lease or contract may be entered into by the Mayor. 6 GAO&J&ID-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation H-271115 whether the 134 emergency acts passed during this time f&me met the D.C. Council’s established criteria. LEASE DISPOSTION The Council passed two emergency acts that exempted two leasesfrom certain District laws requiring that property be leased in compliance with competitive procurement procedures.3 The Council justified one emergencyaction on the grounds that District employees needed to be relocated from buildings located on land needed for the District Sports Arena Project! The Council justified the other emergency action becauseunless the new lease was approved, the lease about to expire would remain in effect, thus requiring the District to pay higher monthly rentals6 Section 451 of the Home Rule Act as amended by Section 304(b) of Public Law No 104-8,sec. 304(b), 109 Stat. 151 (1995), requires Council approval of contracts involving expenditures of more than $1 million. The amendment authorizes Council approval through inaction or failure to pass a resolution disapproving the contract. A resolution is not an act; thus, it is not presented to the Mayor for approval, nor does it have to be submitted to lay and wait before the Congress. Thus, assuming that a lease is a “contract” for the purpose of the amended section 451, the Council’s’granting approval to the lease through an emergencyact did these were the “800 Ninth Street Emergency Act of 1995”(Act 11-141,October 6, 1996,42 DCR 57046705) and the “415 12th Street, N.W, Lease Conditional Approval Emergency Act of 1996” (Act 11-140,September29,1995, 42 DCR 6606- 6607), respectively. ‘The “800 Nhith Street, SW., Lease Approval EmergencyDeclaration Resolution of 1996”(Resolution 11-141,October 6, 1995,42 DCR 6610-6611). &The“416 12th Street, N.W., Lease Conditional Approval Emergency Declaration Resolution of 1996”(Resolution 11-138,September 28, 1995,42 DCR 66145516). 4 GAO/AI&ID-96-&R Information on Emergency Legislation . B-271115 Beginning in October 1996,under the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and ManagementAssistanceAct of 1995(Public Law 104-8),the Financial Responsibility and Management&&stance Authority, commonly referred to as the Authority, is required during a control year’ to review and approve District acts for consistency witi the District’s financial plan and budget prior to the acts being submitted to the Congress. The Authority may take no more than 14 days to review a Distr.+ctact. However, the requirement for Authority approval does not apply to emergency acts. EMERGENCYACTS PASSED In calendar year 1994,the District passed 62 emergency acts. The Council initiated 68 emergencyacts, while the Mayor initiated 4 emergency acts. Twenty- one of the emergencyacts were adopted to take effect immediately in order to cover the period during which another District act containing similar provisions was required to lay and wait before the House of Representatives and the Senate. Forty-one emergencyacts were adopted to respond to other emergency situations. Of the 62 emergencyacts, the substance of 20 was also enacted into permanent legislation, and the substanceof 13 was also enacted into temporary legislation? The substanceof the remaining 29 emergency acts was not made into either permanent or temporary legislation. Yn 1995,the District passed 76 emergency acts. The Council initiated 68 emergencyacts, while the mayor initiated 8 emergency acts. Twenty-two of the emergencyacts were adopted to take. effect immediately in order to cover the period during which another District act containing similar provisions was required to lay and wait before the House of Representatives and the -Senate before taking effect. FWty-fouremergency acts were adopted to respond to other emergencysituations. Of the 76 emergency acts, the substance of 6 was also enacted into permanent legislation, and the substance of 28 was enacted into temporary legislation. The substance of the remaining 42 emergency acts was not - made into either permanent or temporary legislation. The enclosure to this letter lists the emergencylegislation covered in our review. We did not determine ‘A control year is any fkal year for which a financial plan and budget approved by the Authority under section 202 (b) of the 1995 act (public Law 10443)is in effect, and includes fiscal year 1996. vemporary legislation expires after 226 days. 3 GAO/m-9645R Information on Emergency Legislation H-271115 located on land that is needed to build the District’s Sports Arena Project. The other was passed to avoid paying higher monthly rental on an expiring lease than under the approved lease. The Council approved both leases through the passage of emergency acts. , To respond to your request, we analyzed emergencyacts enacted from January 1994through November 1996. We discussedthe results of our work with officials of the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations and the Secretary to the D.C. Council. They concurred with the information presented in this report. Our work was performed from August 1, 1996to December 1, 1995,in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. THE DISTRICT’SLEGISLATIVE PROCESS The District of Columbia Self-Government.and Government Reorganization Act (Home Rule Act), Public Law 93-198,as amended,.establishedprocedures for acts passed by the Council to become law. Generally, the Council is authorized to pass acts by a majority vote of members present and voting. All acts passed by the Council must be presented to the Mayor for approval or disapproval. The Mayor has 10 days to disapprove an act, otherwise it is deemed approved. The Council has 30 days to override any Mayoral disapprovals. Generally, once a District act has received the requisite approval of the Council and the Mayor, it must be submitted to lay and wait before the House of Represent+ives and the Senate for 30 or 60 days (depending on the substance of the act) before it becomes law. The lay and wait period is required to provide time for a joint resolution to be enacted into law disapproving the District act when it is deemed warranted by the Congress. However, an emergency act is not subject to the lay and wait requirement, but it is only effective for a.period of 90 days. The Council may by a two-thirds vote of its members determine that an emergency circumstance makes it necessaryto immediately pass an emergency act. The Home Rule Act does not define what constitutes an “emergency - circumstance.” However, the Council has adopted a rule that defines an “emergency”to mean a situation that “adversely affects the health, safety, welfare, or economic well-being of a person for which legislative relief is deemed appropriate and necessary by the CounciP and adherence to the ordinary legislative process would result in an adverse delay. 2 GAOKIMD-96-45R Information on Emergency Legislation United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Accounting and Information Management Division E271116 February 21,1996 The Honorable Thomas M. Davis III Chairman, Subcommittee on the District of Coiumbia . Committee on GovernmentReform and Oversight House of Representatives Dear Mr. Chairman: This letter responds to a request from your office to provide information on the n&ure and use of the District of Columbia’s authority to adopt emergency legislation during calendar years 1994and 1995. Speei&aRy, you asked that we (1) describe how legislation is enacted in the District, especially emergency legislation, (2) determine how many emergency bills were enacted in calendar years 1994and 1995and their disposition, and (3) ‘determine the disposition of two emergencyacts which exempted two leases from compliance with certain District laws regarding competitive procurement. An emergencyact is effective for only 90 days and is not subject to the congressionalreview that applies to most of the District’s legislation. We identified a total of 62 emergencyacts that were adopted in 1994tid 76 emergencyacts that were adopted in 1995. These emergency acts were used to address a variety of situations which the D.C. Council and the Mayor deemed urgent, affecting, for example, revenues, expenses,or policy issues; waiving legal requirements; or granting the Council approval to take certain actions. In many instances, an emergencyact was passedin order to cover the period during which another District act containing similar provisions was undergoing the required congressionalreview. The enclosure to this letter lists the emergencylegislation we reviewed. You specifically asked about two emergency acts. One was passed to provide office space for District employeeswho were being relocated from buildings GAO/AIMD-9645R Information on Emergency Legislation 15 LPVB
Superfund: Duration of the Cleanup Process at Hazardous Waste Sites on the National Priorities List
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-09-24.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)