oversight

Superfund: Stronger EPA-State Relationship Can Improve Cleanups and Reduce Costs

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-04-24.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO              Report to Congressional Requesters




April 1997
                 SUPERFUND
                 Stronger EPA-State
                 Relationship Can
                 Improve Cleanups and
                 Reduce Costs




GAO/RCED-97-77
      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Resources, Community, and
      Economic Development Division

      B-276235

      April 24, 1997

      The Honorable John Chafee
      Chairman, Committee on Environment
        and Public Works
      United States Senate

      The Honorable Robert C. Smith
      Chairman, Subcommittee on Superfund,
        Waste Control, and Risk Assessment
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
      United States Senate

      In response to your request, this report (1) examines the lessons that have been learned from
      five states that have had significant experience in leading Superfund cleanups and (2) identifies
      how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can help to ensure that interested states are
      successful in their efforts to take on increased Superfund responsibilities.

      As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we will make
      no further distribution of this report until 30 days after the date of this letter. At that time, we
      will send copies to the appropriate congressional committees; the Administrator, EPA; and the
      Director, Office of Management and Budget. We will also make copies available to other
      interested parties upon request.

      Please call me at (202) 512-4907 if you or your staff have any questions. Major contributors to
      this report are listed in appendix III.




      Peter F. Guerrero
      Director, Environmental Protection
        Issues
Executive Summary


             With the enactment of the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Purpose      Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), the Congress authorized
             the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remedy contamination
             resulting from the release of hazardous substances and to compel the
             parties responsible for generating or disposing of hazardous waste to help
             conduct or pay for its cleanup. CERCLA also established a trust fund (the
             Superfund), which is financed primarily by taxes on crude oil and certain
             chemicals. EPA uses the trust fund to implement the cleanup program and
             to pay for cleanup activities. Under EPA’s regulations, the states may
             participate in remedial actions within their boundaries, either cooperating
             with EPA on EPA-led projects or taking the lead on the projects themselves.

             A growing consensus has emerged in recent years among many in the
             administration, state governments, and the Congress that the states should
             take on more responsibility for leading the cleanup of the program’s
             highest-priority sites, which are included on EPA’s National Priorities List
             (NPL). As agreed with the offices of the Chairmen of the Senate Committee
             on Environment and Public Works and of its Subcommittee on Superfund,
             Waste Control, and Risk Assessment, this report examines ways in which
             interested states can successfully assume greater cleanup responsibilities
             at NPL sites. Specifically, the report identifies (1) what lessons have been
             learned from the experiences of five states that already have led NPL
             cleanups1 and (2) how EPA can help ensure that interested states are
             successful in their efforts to adopt increased Superfund responsibilities.


             The Superfund program’s implementation differs from that of most other
Background   environmental programs in the level of involvement by EPA and the states.
             EPA usually relies heavily on the states to develop discharge permits,
             monitor facilities’ compliance, take enforcement actions, and perform
             other basic functions. EPA sets general program direction, provides
             technical support, and exercises oversight responsibilities. In the case of
             the Superfund program, however, EPA has historically exercised a lead
             regulatory responsibility and a direct role in cleaning up most NPL sites.

             When a hazardous waste site is identified, a series of evaluations is
             conducted to determine whether the contamination is serious enough to
             include the site on the NPL. Once listed, the site becomes eligible for
             remedial actions financed by the Superfund to permanently clean up the
             pollution. To identify the most appropriate remedial action at each NPL
             site, a study is conducted to (1) assess the types and quantities of

             1
              The five states are Minnesota, New Hampshire, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.



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                   Executive Summary




                   hazardous waste present and (2) consider alternative cleanup remedies.
                   After these studies are completed, a remedy is chosen, documented in a
                   Record of Decision (ROD), designed, and then constructed. For each site,
                   either EPA or its counterpart at the state level is usually identified as the
                   lead regulatory agency. In some cases, the agency that does not have the
                   lead may still be relied upon to carry out certain cleanup activities. These
                   arrangements are typically specified in a Superfund memorandum of
                   agreement between EPA and the state cleanup agency.

                   Regardless of who has the lead, EPA ultimately pays for large portions of
                   most publicly funded NPL cleanups. Through cooperative agreements with
                   the states, EPA usually supports the cost of preliminary activities, such as
                   site investigations, and up to 90 percent of the actual cleanup costs. The
                   states assume the ultimate responsibility for all operation and
                   maintenance activities. If companies responsible for the pollution finance
                   the cleanup work, then they pay for the entire cleanup.

                   Of 1,300 NPL sites nationwide, the states have assumed lead responsibilities
                   for about 140 sites (although many perform key responsibilities at EPA-led
                   sites).2 A number of factors in recent years have led many to conclude that
                   a greater state role in leading NPL site cleanups would be desirable. Chief
                   among these factors is the difficulty that EPA has had in achieving timely
                   cleanups at NPL sites—a problem the agency expects to persist in light of
                   continued budget constraints. For their part, many states maintain that
                   since they are closer to both the resources within their boundaries and the
                   parties involved in cleanup activities, they are frequently in a position to
                   conduct cleanup operations more efficiently and effectively.


                   On the basis of GAO’s review of the five states’ cleanup programs, two
Results in Brief   critical factors affect a state’s ability to successfully lead cleanups at NPL
                   sites: (1) the ability of EPA and the state to develop a constructive and
                   efficient relationship that is characterized by a clear division of
                   responsibility and by a level of oversight by EPA that is commensurate with
                   the state’s cleanup capabilities and (2) the availability of technical and
                   financial support to help a state perform its additional responsibilities. In
                   connection with the EPA-state relationship, GAO found instances in which
                   EPA disagreed with the state’s view that it could assume added
                   responsibilities without EPA’s detailed oversight. On the positive side,
                   however, GAO found cases in which the elimination of a duplication of

                   2
                    The five states GAO visited account for about 40 percent of the NPL sites nationwide for which the
                   state is leading the cleanup.



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                        Executive Summary




                        effort by EPA and state regulators led to a more efficient utilization of
                        resources and an ability to achieve cleanups more quickly and at a lower
                        cost. A useful practice in establishing this relationship has been an explicit
                        agreement between senior management representing both EPA and the
                        state agency that articulates each agency’s responsibilities and the manner
                        in which EPA’s oversight will be exercised. In connection with technical
                        and financial support, all of the states contacted by GAO indicated that
                        (1) the need for EPA’s research and technical support will continue and, in
                        some instances, may increase as the states’ cleanup responsibilities grow
                        and (2) the states’ capability and willingness to participate in future
                        Superfund cleanups will also be contingent on continued federal financial
                        participation.

                        GAO identified a number of areas in which action by EPA could help ensure
                        that greater state involvement in the Superfund program leads to effective
                        and more efficient cleanups. In particular, EPA has yet to develop criteria
                        needed by its regions to determine and communicate the circumstances
                        under which the states may assume increased responsibilities. Guidance is
                        also needed to (1) promote a consistent approach among EPA regions that
                        reduces the duplication of responsibilities by EPA and state regulators and
                        (2) encourage the use of explicit agreements between the two parties to
                        document and communicate the understandings reached. In connection
                        with the states’ technical and financial needs, EPA has acknowledged that it
                        must play an increased role in this area, but it has yet to detail a specific
                        plan that identifies what the states’specific needs are and how the agency
                        will meet them. Without such a plan, there is little assurance that these
                        needs will be met.



Principal Findings

States’ Experiences     EPA and the states have undertaken efforts in recent years to improve the
Managing NPL Cleanups   efficiency of cleanups at NPL sites by reducing the kind of duplication of
                        effort by EPA and state regulators that had occurred frequently in the past.
                        The five states visited by GAO demonstrate a range of experiences in this
                        matter; three of them—Minnesota, Washington, and Wisconsin—have
                        been given considerable independence to manage cleanups on the sites for
                        which they have been given the lead. In Washington, for example, state
                        and EPA officials both reported that a formal written agreement between
                        EPA’s Seattle office and the state’s Department of Ecology, which divides




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Executive Summary




the responsibility for cleaning up the state’s NPL sites between the two
agencies, has helped greatly to reduce both the acrimony and the
duplication of effort that characterized their past relationship. According
to an analysis by the state, the changes contributed significantly to a
reduction of about 35 percent in the number of staff needed to oversee
cleanups at NPL sites.

On the other hand, New Hampshire and Texas have disagreed with their
respective EPA regions over the optimal balance of federal and state
involvement in cleanups at NPL sites. In each case, state officials
maintained that overlap and duplication of effort resulted in less efficient
cleanups and objected to what they perceived as EPA’s excessive oversight
of their efforts. While the EPA regional offices acknowledged their states’
improved cleanup capability, they cited as reasons for their close
supervision of the states’ activities the need to (1) protect the federal
government’s financial interests in cleanups and (2) ensure that cleanups
follow EPA’s regulations.

While the five states visited are among the most experienced in leading
cleanups at NPL sites, officials in each state acknowledged that they still
need EPA’s technical expertise to complete some NPL cleanups. They
stressed in particular the need for EPA’s assistance in developing
innovative cleanup technologies and in evaluating their effectiveness,
especially bioremediation techniques being proposed by responsible
parties.3 Among other things, the states also discussed the need for EPA’s
technical assistance in assessing sites’ health and environmental risks,
generating standards and technical guidance, and sharing information
across states and regions. EPA has acknowledged that it will need to
provide such assistance and has established a workgroup to ascertain
states’ specific technical needs.

In addition to the technical challenges involved in leading complex
hazardous waste cleanups, the states have also cited budgetary constraints
as a significant factor affecting their inclination and ability to take on
additional cleanup responsibilities at NPL sites. All five states rely to some
degree on funding from EPA, primarily through a variety of cooperative
agreements, to pay for their cleanup efforts at NPL sites. The states also
acknowledged that EPA has maintained the lead responsibility for some
sites that the states have not been able or willing to lead—such as those
with unusually complex remediations or those involving large-scale

3
 Bioremediation uses microorganisms to break down contaminants into less harmful forms, such as
carbon dioxide and water.



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                             Executive Summary




                             emergency removal actions. In addition, each state has, on occasion, used
                             the threat of turning a site over to EPA as a tool for encouraging
                             cooperation by responsible parties. Officials cited EPA’s role as a backup
                             regulatory authority as an effective way to encourage reluctant companies
                             to participate in site cleanups, and agreed that the option to use EPA in this
                             manner should continue.


EPA’s Roles to Ensure the    EPA officials at both headquarters and in the regions acknowledge the
States’ Success in Leading   desirability of a greater state leadership role in cleaning up NPL sites—a
NPL Cleanups                 theme voiced earlier this year in a position paper prepared by the Regional
                             Superfund Division Directors. However, the lessons learned from the five
                             states visited by GAO suggest that a number of issues need to be addressed
                             for such a transition to be successful:

                             Improving the EPA-state working relationship. In cases in which there is
                             uncertainty and disagreement about a state’s capability to lead cleanups at
                             NPL sites, EPA’s “readiness” criteria could help to guide and communicate
                             decisions on the circumstances in which states may assume these
                             increased responsibilities. Acknowledging a need for this type of guidance,
                             EPA headquarters officials have established a workgroup to develop a
                             process for the regions to use in assessing the states’ current readiness
                             and developmental needs. GAO acknowledges EPA’s effort but notes that its
                             success will depend heavily on the agency’s approach. On the basis of past
                             experience with another hazardous waste program and the general
                             agreement among the state officials interviewed for this review, GAO
                             concluded that detailed and prescriptive criteria—prepared without
                             adequate state input—could actually prevent, rather than encourage, a
                             greater state leadership role in cleaning up NPL sites. In addition, the
                             experiences of Minnesota, Washington, and Wisconsin suggest that once
                             states are deemed ready to accept these responsibilities, an explicit
                             agreement is needed to divide responsibilities between state and EPA
                             regulators. Officials in New Hampshire and Texas also expressed strong
                             agreement with such an approach.

                             Providing technical support. Superfund program managers in the five
                             states agreed that as their role expands in managing Superfund cleanups,
                             they will continue to turn to EPA for technical assistance. Similarly,
                             representatives from some industry and environmental organizations also
                             called upon EPA to move away from directly managing cleanups, when
                             possible, and to target its efforts in the Superfund program to providing
                             greater technical support to the states. In some cases, these officials called



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                  Executive Summary




                  for a continued role for EPA in providing current services, such as
                  developing standards and providing technical guidance for state regulators
                  to use in making cleanup decisions. In other instances, they called for a
                  new or expanded commitment from EPA, such as a wider effort to promote
                  information-sharing among the states, industry, environmental
                  organizations, and communities affected by hazardous waste sites.

                  Continuing financial support. Officials in all five states emphasized that in
                  light of their own budget constraints, they could not accept additional
                  Superfund responsibilities unless EPA continues its historical role of
                  providing general program support and site-specific funding. Texas, for
                  example, leads 11 of 28 cleanups of NPL sites and is studying another 11
                  sites for possible inclusion on the NPL. However, the state is also working
                  on 47 non-NPL sites, many of which involve extensive cleanups. According
                  to the director of the Texas Superfund program, the state is already having
                  great difficulty funding its NPL and non-NPL responsibilities, and can
                  therefore take on additional duties only if EPA continues to provide
                  funding. All of the other states visited cited budgetary constraints as a
                  major factor in their programs, a factor that may also limit their ability to
                  take on additional responsibilities for NPL site cleanups without federal
                  support. Acknowledging these constraints, EPA plans to study different
                  ways of improving the efficiency of its financial support for the states’
                  efforts to clean up NPL sites.

                  Developing a comprehensive strategy. EPA has acknowledged that it must
                  play an increased role in helping to meet both the technical and financial
                  needs of participating states. As of March 1997, however, the agency had
                  yet to develop a strategy that identifies what the states’ specific needs are
                  and how to meet these needs. Without such a strategy, there is little
                  assurance that the states’ technical and financial needs will be adequately
                  addressed. To its credit, EPA has established workgroups to obtain input
                  from states and other participants on many of these issues. Pursuing this
                  process to its logical conclusion, by developing a comprehensive strategy
                  to overcome key technical and financial barriers, would provide the states
                  with the tools needed to assume a greater role in leading cleanups at NPL
                  sites.


                  GAO recommends that the Administrator, EPA, direct the Office of Solid
Recommendations   Waste and Emergency Response to work with state representatives in
                  developing the following:




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                      Executive Summary




                  •   Criteria identifying the requirements and circumstances under which
                      states may be granted additional responsibilities to clean up NPL sites. The
                      process of developing criteria should involve the states’ participation, and
                      its outcome should be consistent with EPA’s expressed desire to encourage
                      greater state responsibilities in cleanups at NPL sites.
                  •   Guidance on how EPA regions and the states can best divide NPL cleanup
                      responsibilities at NPL sites. The guidance should recommend use of an
                      explicit agreement articulating each side’s responsibilities and should
                      reinforce the agency’s stated goal of eliminating duplication of effort by
                      the EPA and state regulators who oversee the cleanups.
                  •   A detailed strategy indicating how the agency will meet the states’
                      technical and resource needs so that they may take a lead role in
                      successfully cleaning up NPL sites. Among the kinds of technical support
                      such a plan may include are (1) providing technical assistance at specific
                      sites, (2) identifying ways to accelerate research on innovative
                      technologies, and (3) serving as a national clearinghouse for information
                      on new cleanup technologies and other best practices. Among the
                      potential elements of EPA’s plan to help address the states’ resource
                      constraints are strategies to (1) use federal funds efficiently to assist
                      state-led NPL cleanups, (2) continue leading cleanups at certain NPL sites,
                      and (3) have EPA continue to serve as a backup regulatory authority in
                      order to encourage cooperation between state authorities and responsible
                      parties that are reluctant to clean up a site.


                      GAO provided copies of a draft of this report to EPA for its review and
Agency Comments       comment. GAO staff met with EPA officials, including the Director of the
                      State, Tribal, and Site Identification Center, within the Office of Solid
                      Waste and Emergency Response. The EPA officials characterized the report
                      as an accurate description of EPA-state relations in the Superfund program
                      and as providing useful insights into how to better involve the states in the
                      program. The officials also expressed general agreement with all of GAO’s
                      recommendations. Their specific comments on GAO’s recommendations,
                      along with GAO’s responses, are included at the end of chapters 2 and 3.

                      Officials in each of the five states contacted by GAO also reviewed sections
                      of chapter 2 describing their Superfund programs and their relationship
                      with their respective EPA regional offices. In each case, the officials agreed
                      with the thrust of the information provided but offered clarifications and
                      suggested revisions. These changes were incorporated as appropriate.




                      Page 8              GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Page 9   GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Contents



Executive Summary                                                                                       2


Chapter 1                                                                                              12
                         Federal and State Roles Under the Superfund Program                           12
Introduction             Calls for a Greater State Leadership Role in Cleaning Up NPL                  13
                           Sites
                         Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                            14
                         Agency Comments                                                               15

Chapter 2                                                                                              16
                         Problematic EPA-State Relationship Has Impeded Past NPL                       16
Improvements in            Cleanups
EPA’s Relationship       States Demonstrate a Range of Experiences in Leading Cleanups                 17
                         Improving EPA’s Working Relationship With States                              27
With the States Can      Conclusions                                                                   32
Lead to More Efficient   Recommendations to the Administrator, EPA                                     33
Cleanups                 Agency Comments                                                               33

Chapter 3                                                                                              35
                         States Leading NPL Cleanups Look to EPA for Technical Support                 36
States Will Need         EPA’s Future Role in Providing Technical Assistance                           38
Technical and            States Leading NPL Cleanups Look to EPA for Assistance in                     41
                           Meeting Resource Needs
Financial Support If     Conclusions                                                                   46
They Are to Assume       Recommendation to the Administrator, EPA                                      46
Greater Superfund        Agency Comments                                                               47
Responsibilities
Appendixes               Appendix I: Agreement Between Washington’s Department of                      48
                           Ecology and EPA’s Seattle Office
                         Appendix II: Agreement Between Minnesota’s Pollution Control                  50
                           Agency and EPA’s Chicago Office
                         Appendix III: Major Contributors to This Report                               54

Table                    Table 2.1: State-Led NPL Sites and the Use of a Written                       24
                           Agreement Between EPA and the State Cleanup Agency




                         Page 10          GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Contents




Abbreviations

ASTSWMO    Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste
                Management Officials
CERCLA     Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation,
                and Liability Act, as amended by SARA
DES        New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
ELI        Environmental Law Institute
EPA        Environmental Protection Agency
GAO        General Accounting Office
MPCA       Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
PRP        potentially responsible party
NPL        National Priorities List
RCRA       Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
ROD        Record of Decision
SARA       Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986
SITE       Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation
TAG        technical assistance grants
TNRCC      Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission
WDNR       Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources


Page 11         GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Chapter 1

Introduction


                    In 1980, the Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental
                    Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as
                    Superfund. The act gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the
                    authority to respond to releases of hazardous contaminants from waste
                    sites and provides a trust fund financed primarily by taxes on corporate
                    income, crude oil, and certain chemicals. This fund may be used for,
                    among other things, long-term cleanups at sites included on EPA’s National
                    Priorities List (NPL), a register of the program’s highest priority sites. The
                    law also authorizes EPA to compel the parties responsible for sites to clean
                    them up or reimburse EPA for the cleanup costs.

                    The Superfund program has historically been implemented directly by EPA
                    with varying levels of assistance by states. In recent years, there has been
                    discussion within the administration, in the Congress, and among states
                    and other interested parties of the potential for a greater state role in
                    leading the oversight of NPL cleanups. This report examines such an
                    increase in state responsibility, focusing on how a transition toward
                    greater state leadership in the program can be accomplished in a manner
                    that results in greater cost efficiency and environmental benefit.


                    When a hazardous waste site is identified, a series of evaluations is
Federal and State   conducted to determine whether contamination is serious enough to
Roles Under the     include the site on the NPL. Once listed, the site becomes eligible for trust
Superfund Program   fund-financed remedial actions to permanently clean up the pollution. To
                    identify the most appropriate remedial action at each NPL site, a remedial
                    investigation and a feasibility study are conducted to (1) assess the types
                    and quantities of hazardous waste present and (2) consider alternative
                    cleanup remedies. After these studies are completed, a remedy is chosen,
                    documented in a Record of Decision (ROD), designed, and then
                    constructed. In the case of each site, either EPA or its state counterpart is
                    generally identified as the lead agency. In some cases, the agency without
                    the lead may still be relied upon to carry out certain cleanup activities.

                    The Superfund program’s implementation differs from that of most other
                    environmental programs in the level of involvement by EPA and the states.
                    EPA usually relies heavily on the states to develop discharge permits,
                    monitor facilities’ compliance, take enforcement actions, and perform
                    other basic functions. EPA sets the program’s general direction, provides
                    technical support, and exercises oversight responsibilities. In the case of
                    the Superfund program, however, EPA has generally exercised a lead
                    oversight responsibility and a direct role in cleaning up most NPL sites.



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                        Chapter 1
                        Introduction




                        Today, the agency leads about 90 percent of NPL cleanups. At many of
                        these sites, the states perform certain cleanup activities under EPA’s overall
                        direction.

                        EPA and the states share the responsibilities and costs of publicly financed
                        cleanups, often through cooperative agreements. In such cases, regardless
                        of whether EPA or the state has the lead oversight responsibility, EPA uses
                        the trust fund to contribute 90 percent of the cleanup costs for sites that
                        were privately owned or operated and at least 50 percent for sites that
                        were operated by the state or municipalities. The states assume the
                        ultimate responsibility for all operation and maintenance activities. If
                        potentially responsible parties (PRP), that is, the parties responsible for the
                        contamination at a site, can be identified, such parties often conduct the
                        cleanup operations and may be liable for all cleanup costs, including
                        operation and maintenance. EPA Superfund officials estimated that about
                        70 percent of all cleanups are performed by PRPs.


                        In recent years, however, a growing number of states have demonstrated
Calls for a Greater     both the capability and willingness to assume a greater role in overseeing
State Leadership Role   NPL cleanups. For example, whereas few states during the last decade

in Cleaning Up NPL      possessed the capability to clean up NPL-caliber sites, the Association of
                        State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO), whose
Sites                   membership includes environmental officials from each state, maintains
                        that a majority of states are now capable of taking on the lead regulatory
                        responsibility for all or part of the Superfund process. The state
                        environmental officials we interviewed echoed ASTSWMO’s contention that
                        states are often in a better position than the federal government to take
                        the lead in protecting their natural resources.

                        For its part, EPA’s difficulties in addressing NPL cleanups in a timely fashion
                        also argue for a greater state role to help shoulder the burden. The agency
                        acknowledges that it has taken longer than it would like both to evaluate
                        sites for placement on the NPL and to clean up these sites after evaluation.
                        EPA officials have indicated that budget and staffing constraints will
                        continue to hamper the agency and that EPA regions and states should
                        form partnerships to tackle cleanups at contaminated sites.

                        The question of an increased state leadership role in NPL cleanups has also
                        been the subject of congressional debate. The principal comprehensive
                        Superfund reauthorization bills introduced in the 104th Congress (S. 1285
                        and H.R. 2500) would have authorized EPA to delegate Superfund program



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                     Chapter 1
                     Introduction




                     responsibilities at NPL sites to the states. These bills would have
                     established procedures for delegation, and would have limited EPA’s
                     authority at NPL sites for which states had assumed responsibility. The
                     comprehensive reauthorization bill introduced in the Senate in the 105th
                     Congress (S. 8) contains delegation provisions similar to those in S. 1285.


                     In light of the growing interest in having states lead more NPL cleanups,
Objectives, Scope,   this report examines how such a shift of responsibilities could be carried
and Methodology      out successfully. Specifically, as agreed with the offices of the Chairmen of
                     the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and its
                     Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Control, and Risk Assessment, this
                     report identifies (1) what lessons have been learned from five states that
                     have already led NPL cleanups and (2) how EPA can help ensure that
                     interested states are successful in their efforts to adopt increased
                     Superfund responsibilities.

                     We addressed both of these issues during face-to-face interviews with EPA
                     and state Superfund officials, industry representatives, and environmental
                     officials, both in Washington, D.C., and in several states (and their
                     corresponding EPA regional offices). In Washington, D.C., we interviewed
                     EPA Superfund officials to understand the agency’s goals for providing
                     greater program responsibility to the states, and its plans for achieving
                     these goals. Among other things, this information included updates on the
                     work of several EPA workgroups examining issues that need to be resolved
                     for such a transfer of responsibilities to succeed. We also interviewed
                     officials with key national groups having a stake in the Superfund
                     program, such as ASTSWMO.

                     Much of our work focused on obtaining information on the experiences of
                     five states that have led a substantial number of Superfund
                     cleanups—Minnesota, New Hampshire, Texas, Washington, and
                     Wisconsin. In addition to their extensive experience in leading NPL
                     cleanups, other considerations in selecting these states included (1) the
                     need for diversity in the size of the states to better understand how an
                     expanded state NPL cleanup role could be undertaken in both large and
                     small states and (2) the need to select states in different EPA regions, both
                     to reflect the variation in the types of Superfund sites across the country
                     and to understand how different EPA regional offices deal with their state
                     counterparts.




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                  Chapter 1
                  Introduction




                  In each case, we obtained information on the state’s experiences in
                  leading NPL cleanups and asked state officials for their views on federal
                  actions needed to help ensure the success of an expanded state Superfund
                  role. We sought comparable information from Superfund officials in the
                  cognizant EPA regional office and from industry and environmental
                  officials. In each state visited, we attempted to obtain quantitative
                  information on the effects of alternative program strategies (e.g., time and
                  money saved by eliminating duplication of effort by state and EPA
                  regulators). However, in the rare instances in which aggregate data were
                  available, the task was complicated by the difficulty in separating the
                  impacts of the strategy in question from other variables. Nonetheless, we
                  obtained anecdotal information where possible that would at least provide
                  quantitative insights into the effects of the strategies analyzed and have
                  included this information in the report where appropriate.

                  Finally, to better understand how new strategies for improving EPA-state
                  relations can be used to achieve greater efficiency, we also studied three
                  Superfund sites in Minnesota, Texas, and Wisconsin, interviewing many of
                  the participants and obtaining detailed information about each site’s
                  cleanup. These case studies were used to provide tangible illustrations of
                  the techniques mentioned by the interviewees noted above and to obtain
                  information and perspectives from the participants directly involved in
                  cleanup activities, such as civic association representatives and local
                  community action groups.

                  We conducted our work from July 1996 through March 1997 in accordance
                  with generally accepted government auditing standards.


                  We provided copies of a draft of this report to EPA for its review. GAO staff
Agency Comments   met with EPA officials, including the Director of the State, Tribal, and Site
                  Identification Center, within the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency
                  Response, to obtain their comments. In addition, officials in each of the
                  five states contacted by GAO reviewed sections of chapter 2 describing
                  their Superfund programs and their relationship with their respective EPA
                  regional offices. The comments of the EPA and state officials, and GAO’s
                  response, are discussed at the end of chapters 2 and 3.




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                   We found a strong consensus among the EPA, state, industry, and
                   environmental officials interviewed that with states taking on more
                   Superfund cleanup responsibilities, the EPA-state relationship is of
                   paramount importance in affecting how efficiently Superfund cleanups are
                   conducted. In the past, the EPA-state relationship has often been
                   characterized by frustration and duplication of effort, adversely affecting
                   the number, timeliness, and cost of cleanups. Recent changes in several of
                   the states and regions visited, however, demonstrate that a cooperative
                   relationship, characterized by a division of responsibilities among EPA and
                   state regulators, and a collaborative arrangement for resolving
                   disagreements early, can lead to a more efficient utilization of resources. A
                   useful practice in establishing this relationship has been a formal
                   agreement between senior management representing both EPA and state
                   agencies, which articulates each agency’s responsibilities and the manner
                   in which EPA oversight will be exercised.

                   While some states are clearly capable and willing to lead NPL cleanups, we
                   found instances in which there was uncertainty and disagreement about
                   whether the state should be granted the added responsibility. In such
                   instances, clear criteria would be useful to guide and communicate
                   decisions on the circumstances in which states may assume increased
                   responsibilities. Similarly, headquarters guidance could also help to
                   promote a consistent approach among EPA regions that reduces
                   duplication of effort by state and federal regulators and encourages a level
                   of oversight that is commensurate with each state’s capabilities.


                   The states play a significant role in the implementation of the Superfund
Problematic        program. States may apply to EPA to carry out cleanup actions under
EPA-State          Superfund, and if EPA determines that the state is capable of carrying out
Relationship Has   such actions, it may enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with
                   the state. The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986
Impeded Past NPL   expanded the states’ role by authorizing states to carry out related
Cleanups           enforcement actions pursuant to the contract or cooperative agreement.
                   EPA regulations provide that “states may either assume the lead . . . for the
                   response action or may be the support agency in EPA-lead remedial
                   response.” Even when EPA retains the lead, the regulations provide that EPA
                   shall “ensure meaningful and substantial state involvement” in site
                   cleanups.

                   An unintended effect of this arrangement has often been duplication of
                   effort by and frustration among EPA and state regulators. A 1993 analysis



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                             reporting the views of EPA and state officials on this issue pointed out that
                             “virtually every government interviewee stated that the major problem in
                             the federal/state relationship is duplication of effort.”1 According to the
                             study, some interviewees said that “the agencies spend as much time
                             negotiating between themselves as they do with PRPs.” These findings are
                             consistent with the views articulated 2 years later by ASTSWMO, which made
                             the following observation in a January 1995 position paper:

                             “The current Superfund program is not utilizing the resources of both the federal and state
                             governments in the most efficient manner possible. At those NPL sites where the state has
                             been designated the lead agency responsible for site cleanup and all dealings with the
                             responsible parties, EPA still reserves the right to select and enforce its own remedy . . . .
                             The overall result of this approach is a duplication of effort by EPA and state agencies about
                             the cleanup remedy and cleanup standards required at these sites. This produces a slower,
                             more expensive and cumbersome Superfund process overall.”




                             Our review of five states demonstrated a range of experiences in EPA’s and
States Demonstrate a         the states’ roles in managing NPL cleanups and provided insights on the
Range of Experiences         efficiencies achievable through a division of responsibilities that reduces
in Leading Cleanups          duplication of effort, including a level of EPA oversight that reflects a
                             state’s capabilities. Three states (Washington, Minnesota, and Wisconsin)
                             have moved toward a greater state role with more autonomy. The other
                             two states (New Hampshire and Texas) have not established clear
                             divisions of responsibilities with their respective EPA regional offices. In
                             these instances, EPA and state officials have disagreed about the readiness
                             of the states to assume additional responsibilities and on the level of EPA
                             oversight required.


Experiences of Three         Faced with both limited state and federal resources and a growing number
States in Dividing Cleanup   of hazardous waste sites, Washington, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have
Responsibilities With EPA    established clear understandings about a division of responsibilities with
                             their respective EPA regions to clean up sites. Officials from both the
Regulators                   regions and states agree that they now use their resources more efficiently
                             as a result. In particular, they agree that the arrangements have minimized
                             the duplication of effort, allowed federal and state authorities to address
                             more sites, and improved the accountability for the site cleanups. The
                             summaries below describe (1) the situation that existed before the
                             agreements, (2) the steps taken to improve the situation, and (3) the
                             benefits expected or already realized from the changes made.

                             1
                             David L. Markell, “The Federal Superfund Program: Proposals for Strengthening the Federal/State
                             Relationship,” William & Mary Journal of Environmental Law (Vol. 18:01).



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Washington   Washington’s Department of Ecology has been heavily involved in the
             cleanup process for NPL sites for many years; currently, it has the lead for
             23 of the 58 NPL sites in the state. The Section Manager for the Washington
             Department of Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program explained that the
             primary impetus for the state to be involved in cleaning up NPL sites was
             the passage of the state’s Model Toxics Control Act in 1988—coupled with
             the state’s sentiment that cleanup should be a state responsibility. At the
             same time, a state petroleum tax provided the funding to implement the
             law and enabled Ecology’s staffing to rise from zero just 10 years ago to
             about 145 staff today. The increased staff levels contributed to the state’s
             ability to develop its capabilities to handle the cleanup responsibilities at
             sites.

             As the state’s involvement grew, it also sought to apply consistent cleanup
             standards to both federal and state toxic waste sites. Ecology’s Section
             Manager explained that EPA applied federal cleanup standards to NPL sites
             that were federal facilities, such as Department of Defense or Department
             of Energy sites, and that these standards could be less stringent than those
             provided under Washington’s new law.

             EPA and state officials both acknowledged that as the state took on added
             cleanup responsibilities for NPL sites, both Ecology and EPA’s Seattle office
             grew increasingly frustrated with the way cleanups were being handled.
             For example, when a PRP prepared any cleanup document, both agencies
             reviewed and provided comments to the PRP rather than having just one
             agency comment on the plan. Ecology’s Section Manager said that the PRP
             then had to respond to two sets of comments, causing delays and
             frustration. Additionally, sometimes these comments were in conflict with
             each other, often conveying the appearance that EPA did not use the state’s
             more stringent cleanup standards to clean up federal facilities. This
             perception led to increased concern by Ecology that federal facilities were
             being treated differently from those sites that private parties cleaned up
             under the state law. For its part, EPA officials were concerned that the state
             did not have the expertise or experience to oversee cleanups adequately
             without substantial EPA oversight. According to officials from both
             agencies, their relationship became dysfunctional to the point of a serious
             breakdown in communication that was seriously affecting the cleanup
             process.

             Acknowledging both the deterioration in their working relationship and
             the inefficiency of having both state and EPA regulators heavily involved in
             the same sites, Ecology and EPA regional management signed a formal



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agreement in October 1994 that clearly documented a division of
responsibilities for each agency.2 The agreement specified a lead agency
for each of the state’s sites, identifying several to be jointly managed (sites
requiring “enhanced” oversight). According to Ecology’s Section Manager,
the agreement was based on trust between the two agencies. That is, each
agency trusted that the other was capable of overseeing the cleanup
activities and reaching acceptable cleanup levels at the sites it had agreed
to lead.

In a marked departure from the previous arrangement, in which EPA was
heavily involved in all NPL sites, the two agencies agreed that if an agency
was not the lead agency for a site, it would be involved only at a few
critical milestone briefings. These briefings include (1) a project planning
briefing, in which the conceptual site model and site management are
discussed; (2) a remedy selection briefing, in which the proposed Record
of Decision (ROD) or cleanup action plan is discussed; and (3) a briefing at
the end of the cleanup process to propose to remove the site from the NPL.

According to both Ecology and regional officials, the milestone briefings
have allowed the non-lead agency an occasion to monitor progress and to
ensure that the needs of all concerned parties are being met. Ecology’s
Section Manager cited a cleanup at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard as an
example, noting that EPA raised concerns at one of the scheduled meetings
that the Navy’s proposed remedy might not work. On the basis of this
meeting and the analyses that followed, the Navy, Ecology, and EPA
selected a better remedy. He added that the experience demonstrated that
the new process works well in identifying problems and disagreements
early on—before important decisions are made and have to be reversed.

The Ecology Section Manager said that the agreement has gone a long way
toward improving the destructive and counterproductive EPA-state
relationship of the past. He pointed out that the cleanup process operates
more efficiently now because EPA and state staff spend more time on
cleanup activities and less time trying to resolve conflicts. When asked
whether Ecology had data quantifying the improved efficiency under the
new arrangement, he responded that it is impossible to isolate the impact
of the new process from the numerous other factors that affect the use of
financial and staff resources. However, he did cite a strong consensus
among Ecology staff that the agreement has greatly reduced the
duplication of effort originally experienced by the region and state. He


2
See app. I for a memorandum summarizing the agreement between Washington’s Department of
Ecology and EPA’s Seattle office.



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            also noted that since the agreement, the staff resources needed to oversee
            NPL cleanups have declined by approximately 35 percent from fiscal year
            1994 (the year before the agreement went into effect) to fiscal year 1997.

            EPA’s Seattle officials concurred with Ecology’s views. For example, the
            region’s State/Tribal Coordinator and some of her staff told us that they
            have been able to (1) put to rest disagreements about EPA and state
            responsibilities, (2) reduce the duplication of effort by the two agencies,
            and (3) spend more of their time and energy addressing contaminated
            sites. In hindsight, however, the Coordinator said that some measure for
            periodically evaluating how the agreement between EPA and Ecology was
            working should have been incorporated into the original agreement.

            Members of the affected community also expressed their support for the
            agreement between the two agencies. A local representative of the Sierra
            Club commented that having a single regulator at a site made it easier for
            the community to figure out who they should deal with and also made it
            harder for governmental agencies to “pass the buck” when assuming
            responsibility for cleanups. A lawyer who has represented several PRPs
            involved in site cleanups, and has served on Washington’s Model Toxics
            Control Act Policy Advisory Committee, shared similar thoughts. In his
            opinion, PRPs prefer to work with one agency rather than two because the
            PRPs know who they need to work with to clean up the hazardous waste
            site.

Minnesota   According to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) officials, before
            any formal agreement was established between EPA’s Chicago office and
            MPCA, the agencies had a good working relationship and achieved success
            in cleaning up sites in Minnesota. EPA either led NPL site cleanups itself or
            provided oversight of the state’s cleanup actions. However, in some cases,
            EPA’s Chicago office closely monitored or duplicated the state’s efforts,
            leading to some inefficiency in the cleanup process. They noted instances
            in which the state would submit a site work plan to EPA for review, and EPA
            would take 30 to 60 days to respond. This process would then be repeated
            for each phase of the cleanup. According to the officials, issues that could
            be resolved quickly often took several months to be resolved.

            Both the state and the region realized that many sites in the region still
            needed to be assessed and cleaned up. According to EPA regional and MPCA
            officials, the state’s strong track record enabled it to assume lead
            responsibilities on 26 of the state’s 31 NPL sites. Moreover, the two
            agencies entered into an agreement whereby the state was given near-total



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independence in overseeing the cleanups of 13 of these sites, all of which
are PRP-financed sites. Specifically, in fiscal year 1995, EPA and MPCA
formally agreed to establish an Enforcement Deferral Pilot Project to
demonstrate full accountability for state enforcement-led NPL sites without
federal oversight or intervention.3 Noting that “the Deferral Pilot will
gather information that can be used to demonstrate MPCA’s capability for
state authorization and/or referral,” the agreement clearly delineates the
roles of both MPCA and EPA’s Chicago office. The agreement also allows EPA
to devote its resources to other states that need its assistance.

The MPCA utilizes state authorities to investigate and clean up these sites,
take enforcement action when necessary, and report site cleanup progress
to EPA on an annual basis. Importantly, EPA’s Chicago office defers to MPCA
on site decisions and no longer oversees MPCA on the designated sites. EPA
does not review technical or decision documents, and its concurrence is
not required on RODs.4 However, EPA does retain approval of 5-year reviews
and final site closeout reports for sites in which EPA had previously
concurred on the RODs.5

According to the agreement established between EPA’s Chicago office and
MPCA, the pilot project’s success will be systematically determined by
(1) the capability of MPCA to meet all or a majority of the targeted
milestones on or before the targeted date, (2) the quality of the remedies
being implemented, and (3) the level of community participation. All key
participants agree that reducing duplication by EPA and state regulators
has already had positive results. Under the current operating scheme, EPA’s
Chicago office exercises substantially less oversight than in the past. MPCA
officials noted in particular that EPA has basically stepped away from the
sites included in the pilot and that MPCA staff have more flexibility to make
decisions than in the past to achieve a more efficient cleanup. MPCA’s Site
Response Section Manager noted, for example, that an MPCA project
manager may realize that rather than conducting a full site investigation, a
more limited investigation is all that is needed to determine the
contamination levels and identify the affected areas. In the past, the

3
 See app. II for the text of the agreement between MPCA and EPA’s Chicago office.
4
 EPA does review the ROD to ensure that the selected remedies are protective of human health and
the environment and that the decisions made are not inconsistent with EPA’s Superfund regulations.
5
 EPA conducts two types of 5-year reviews. Superfund’s reauthorization in 1986 called for 5-year
reviews (statutory reviews) at certain sites where a cleanup remedy was selected after 1986 and where
waste remains on site. EPA has also decided to conduct 5-year reviews (policy reviews) at sites where
the remedies were decided on before 1986. According to EPA, the purpose of the review is twofold:
(1) to confirm that the cleanup technologies remain effective at protecting human health and the
environment, and (2) to evaluate whether the original contamination cleanup goals remain protective
of human health and the environment.



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            project manager would have completed a full investigation in all cases,
            whether warranted or not. MPCA officials also confirmed that, as agreed,
            EPA regional staff have refrained from second-guessing MPCA on cleanup
            decisions.

            The Coordinator of Minneapolis’ Community Development Agency, who
            also serves on an MPCA advisory committee, observed that EPA and MPCA
            officials have found an appropriate middle ground for their working
            agreement. He observed that EPA has basically stepped away from the sites
            included in the pilot, and that MPCA staff are willing to take a few more
            risks than in the past. He also noted that EPA has avoided the temptation to
            second-guess MPCA on its cleanup decisions.

Wisconsin   In the early 1980s, EPA led the initial NPL site cleanups in Wisconsin. In
            subsequent years, however, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources
            (WDNR) developed and implemented its own comprehensive cleanup
            program. The agency increased its staff levels and its capacity for leading
            NPL cleanups as part of a broader effort to address all contaminated sites in
            the state. As it increased its cleanup capacity, WDNR staff began assisting
            EPA with various aspects of NPL site cleanups. More recently, according to
            both state and EPA regional officials, both agencies saw advantages in
            expanding WDNR’s role in leading NPL site cleanups. According to WDNR
            officials, WDNR management believed that the agency was in the best
            position to protect the state’s resources and that it had demonstrated that
            it could handle the cleanup responsibilities. For its part, EPA’s Chicago
            region indicated that an expanded state role would allow it to reduce
            duplication of effort and to concentrate its own efforts on cleaning up
            other sites. Currently, the state has lead responsibility for 8 of the state’s
            42 NPL sites and is actively involved in most of the other NPL sites.

            Unlike Washington and Minnesota, WDNR has not entered into a formal
            written agreement between the agency and the region to clean up the sites.
            Instead, as sites are considered for cleanup, WDNR and EPA’s Chicago office
            officials determine which agency should take the lead. Oversight of
            state-led cleanups is somewhat stronger in Wisconsin than in Washington
            or Minnesota—WDNR staff are required to keep the responsible EPA regional
            staff informed of the site’s cleanup progress on a quarterly basis. In
            addition, the EPA regional office must approve the ROD for each site and
            reviews other key decisions as the site cleanup progresses.

            Nonetheless, state officials told us that the state and EPA currently have a
            very effective relationship. According to the officials, EPA typically



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                               provides support and information on the Superfund cleanup process while
                               the state provides the expertise to specifically address the contamination
                               at the site. Through this cooperative effort, they said, effective remedy
                               decisions can more often be made. The WDNR officials cited the Sauk
                               County Landfill as an example. In reviewing the ROD, EPA agreed with WDNR
                               that since groundwater contamination levels had decreased, WDNR could
                               upgrade the existing cap rather than build a new cap as the ROD suggested.

                               Our discussions with industrial and local community group
                               representatives supported the EPA Chicago office’s and WDNR’s efforts to
                               implement a more effective working relationship. For example, the
                               Director of Environmental Policy for Wisconsin’s Manufacturers &
                               Commerce said that his members are interested in having the state and EPA
                               continue their new working relationship because it has simplified the
                               cleanup process. He explained that having one agency lead the cleanup
                               minimizes duplication of effort and helps the responsible parties know
                               who they need to work with to clean up a site. In addition, the President of
                               the Evergreen Property Owners Association, who represents the
                               community directly affected by the Sauk County Landfill site, was very
                               appreciative of the work the WDNR did and the information they provided
                               to the community. Also, because of the clear working relationship
                               between EPA and the state, the community knew to direct their comments
                               and concerns to WDNR rather than EPA.

Benefits of Dividing           Washington, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, along with their respective EPA
Responsibilities Between EPA   regions, have experimented with ways to clean up NPL sites more
and the State                  efficiently by dividing responsibilities among EPA and state cleanup
                               officials. Because numerous factors affect cleanup time frames and costs,
                               it is difficult to quantify the savings attributable to these arrangements.
                               Nonetheless, a strong consensus has emerged among the state and EPA
                               officials we interviewed that efforts to divide responsibilities among EPA
                               and state regulators have reduced frustration among regulators, reduced
                               the duplication of effort, and allowed officials to address a larger number
                               of hazardous waste sites. These views were also supported by those of
                               other stakeholders we interviewed (i.e., industrial representatives,
                               environmental activists, and local community representatives), many of
                               whom added that having a single regulatory entity responsible for the
                               cleanup reduces confusion and identifies a single point of accountability
                               for the cleanup.




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Table 2.1: State-Led NPL Sites and the
Use of a Written Agreement Between                                   Type of site                                    Written agreements
EPA and the State Cleanup Agency                                Federally          PRP-       Number of sites        delineating cleanup
                                                                financed       financed         Leads          Total responsibilities?
                                         Washington                                     X           23            58 Yes
                                         Minnesota                        X             X           26            31 Yes
                                         Wisconsin                        X             X             8           42 No
                                         New Hampshire                    X                         10            18 No
                                         Texas                            X                         10            28 No



Two States Have Had More                 New Hampshire and Texas experienced greater difficulty both in obtaining
Difficulty Dividing                      greater responsibilities for leading NPL cleanups and in exercising the
Responsibilities With EPA                responsibilities they do have without detailed EPA oversight. While both
                                         states have had instances of productive collaboration with their regional
                                         counterparts, they have not established the same kind of clear division of
                                         responsibilities as have Washington, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. This
                                         situation reflects different perceptions between each state and its regional
                                         office about the state’s readiness to lead key NPL cleanup functions.

New Hampshire                            To date, New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services (DES)
                                         has exercised the lead responsibility at 10 of the state’s 18 NPL sites. At
                                         each of the 10 sites, the state has received the lead for certain phases of
                                         the cleanup, rather than responsibility for the entire site.

                                         DES officials told us that the state would like to assume the responsibility
                                         for more sites and would like to exercise that responsibility with greater
                                         authority. The Director of DES’ Waste Management Division explained that
                                         DES has long maintained that the state’s hazardous waste problems can be
                                         most efficiently dealt with by the state, partly because it is “closer to the
                                         problem” and partly because it has a better relationship with the affected
                                         public than EPA regional staff. DES officials also told us that they have
                                         demonstrated the technical and administrative expertise to successfully
                                         lead NPL projects.

                                         DES’ Waste Management Division Director and his staff also maintained
                                         that EPA’s oversight is too heavy in those instances in which the state does
                                         exercise the lead responsibility. They note, for example, that all technical
                                         and legal reports (e.g., feasibility studies, site inspection reports, and
                                         administrative orders on consent6) must be reviewed by both DES and EPA

                                         6
                                          An administrative order on consent is an agreement between the lead agency and a PRP settling all or
                                         part of a PRP’s liability at a site and generally requiring the PRP to make a cash payment or to perform
                                         specified site response actions.



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        regional management. They maintained that having duplicate reviews of
        all documents is inefficient and adds to a project’s time frames.

        Officials from EPA’s Boston office explained that in general, they are less
        certain than the state about its abilities to handle enhanced NPL
        responsibilities, particularly with a great deal of independence. For
        instance, in the opinion of the Associate Director of Site Remediation and
        Restoration in EPA’s Boston office, the state’s enforcement authority is
        currently not as stringent as the federal statute and could therefore
        complicate enforcement actions against PRPs and cause significant cleanup
        delays. In addition, the EPA officials said that they need to closely monitor
        the state-led sites because federal dollars are being used to fund the
        cleanups.

        Both DES and regional officials, however, cited instances of productive
        cooperation between the two agencies. DES officials, for example, cited the
        Auburn Road Landfill site in Londonberry, New Hampshire (a state-led
        site), where DES and EPA agreed to diverge from the selected
        remedy—saving about $10.5 million in cleanup costs.7 Moreover, the
        Boston region does acknowledge the need to move toward an
        arrangement that provides the state with both greater responsibilities and
        greater autonomy in leading NPL sites—particularly in light of the region’s
        own limited resources in addressing a difficult cleanup workload. In fact,
        the Boston office’s Associate Director of Site Remediation and
        Restoration, cited the arrangement between Washington’s Department of
        Ecology and EPA’s Seattle region as a potential model, noting that their
        agreement to divide their responsibilities may be “the way to go” in
        addressing NPL cleanups with DES.

Texas   Texas’ Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC) is currently
        leading 10 of the state’s 28 NPL sites, all of which are fund-financed sites.
        As in the case of New Hampshire, Texas and EPA regional officials have
        disagreed about both the extent to which the state should be allowed to
        lead more NPL cleanups and the degree of EPA oversight that should be
        exercised.

        The Manager of TNRCC’s Technical Support Section and some of his staff
        told us that the state has been interested in leading NPL cleanups for many

        7
         Specifically, the original ROD would have required that contaminated groundwater be extracted and
        treated on-site. The estimated cost of this remedy was $12.4 million. However, New Hampshire
        officials argued successfully that the state’s groundwater protection rules were adequate to protect
        human health and the environment and that the state’s proposed remedy would cost significantly less.
        The Boston region amended the ROD accordingly, resulting in a final remedy costing $1.9 million.



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years, echoing the reasons cited by officials in other states—they believe
that it is inherently a state responsibility to protect Texas’ environment
and that they are closer to both the problems and the participants involved
in addressing them. In addition, they expressed particular interest in
taking on the responsibility to lead cleanups of PRP-led sites, asserting that
they are in a much better position to negotiate with PRPs than EPA.8

TNRCC  officials also discussed the level of EPA’s oversight in connection
with some of the sites for which the state has had the lead. The Manager of
TNRCC’s Technical Support Section noted that historically, the region
typically reviewed and approved each decision, a process that proved to
be cumbersome, time-consuming, and demoralizing to state staff. For
example, the Section Manager said that cleanup progress at the North
Cavalcade site in Houston was delayed between 4 and 6 months while EPA
reviewed the state contractor’s engineering estimates. The TNRCC officials
also acknowledged, however, that the state’s more recent experience with
EPA’s oversight of state-led sites has been less onerous than in the past.


EPA’s Dallas region sees the question of an increased state role in different
terms. In connection with the number of sites that Texas could lead, the
Dallas office’s Superfund Branch Chief explained that in the early 1980s,
the region was reluctant to allow TNRCC to lead PRP-financed sites. The PRP
sites were fairly large, and the region did not want to give the lead to the
state since its experience was still limited, given the newness of the
Superfund program. Since then, the Superfund Branch Chief said that the
Texas sites listed on the NPL have generally been fund-led sites. He said
that if PRPs are identified for a site, the state tends to work with the PRP to
clean up the site under the state statute. In addition, he said that TNRCC
already “has its hands full” with fund-led sites and probably does not have
sufficient resources to take on additional responsibilities.

The TNRCC Technical Support Section Manager disagreed with this
explanation. He said that the decision to allow the state to lead only
fund-financed sites was made unilaterally by the region. He said that if
provided with adequate resources, TNRCC could handle the responsibilities
of a PRP-financed NPL site and would welcome the opportunity to do so.9


8
 This point was substantiated in our interview with a Senior Vice President of the Texas Chemical
Council, who cited TNRCC’s simplified procedures as one reason why PRPs generally believe cleanups
can be performed faster under state oversight than under EPA direction.
9
 As we discuss later in this chapter, the availability of criteria to guide and communicate EPA’s
decisions in these circumstances could help to achieve agreement on the delegation of responsibilities
to the states and could serve as a vehicle for the region to explain and justify its decisions.



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                            In connection with Texas’ concerns about oversight, Dallas regional
                            officials cited the region’s responsibility to account for the expenditure of
                            Superfund dollars. The region maintains that this responsibility requires it
                            to prepare the ROD and track closely how federal funds are spent in the
                            cleanup process. While TNRCC’s Section Manager said that EPA would be
                            remiss if it did not monitor how the states were spending federal dollars,
                            he reiterated his concern about the intensity of EPA’s oversight and the
                            problems it can cause.

New Hampshire and Texas:    The experiences of both New Hampshire and Texas point to the state and
Difficulties in Dividing    EPA officials’ significantly different perceptions of the states’ capability to
Responsibilities With EPA   lead NPL cleanups without EPA’s detailed involvement. In each case, state
                            officials have pointed to the inherent advantages of a state lead, including
                            their closer connection to both the environmental problems within their
                            state and to the key stakeholders involved in addressing these problems.
                            They also cited their experiences to date cleaning up both NPL sites and the
                            larger number of non-NPL sites within their jurisdiction. Accordingly, they
                            objected strongly to what they perceived as their regions’ reluctance to
                            allow them additional lead responsibilities and the regions’ intense level of
                            involvement in those instances where a state lead was allowed.

                            The two states’ EPA regional offices, however, expressed a different view.
                            While the Boston and Dallas offices have both acknowledged their
                            respective states’ improved cleanup capability, each has questioned
                            whether the state had the resources necessary to lead PRP-financed sites.
                            And having restricted state-led cleanups in New Hampshire and Texas to
                            fund-financed sites, these regions believed their responsibility for tracking
                            federal expenditures necessitated an active role in overseeing the states’
                            activities. In recent months, however, Boston officials have acknowledged
                            the need to move toward a greater division of responsibility with New
                            Hampshire on the management of that state’s NPL sites.


                            The experiences of the five states we visited make it clear that an
Improving EPA’s             improved EPA-state working relationship can improve the timeliness and
Working Relationship        reduce the costs of NPL cleanups. A key prerequisite is a systematic
With States                 determination, negotiated between the state and its EPA regional office, of
                            the responsibilities the state should be permitted to handle. The
                            negotiations should be guided by objective criteria prepared jointly by EPA
                            and representatives of state Superfund offices. Once these responsibilities
                            are decided, EPA must establish an arrangement that clearly articulates the




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                          roles and responsibilities of the state and its EPA region and that minimizes
                          duplication of effort.


Criteria Would Help EPA   As noted in chapter 1, EPA has acknowledged that in order to more
Judge States’ Readiness   effectively address the nation’s hazardous waste sites, it needs to rely
                          more on states’ growing interest and ability to lead site cleanups. At the
                          same time, the agency also acknowledges that states have made
                          tremendous progress in recent years in developing their own state
                          programs and have gained experience in cleaning up both NPL and non-NPL
                          sites. Studies such as the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) 50-State
                          Study10 lend support to EPA’s claim. For example, when ELI first studied the
                          states’ programs in 1989, half of the states were actively managing cleanup
                          activities at non-NPL sites. By 1995, 44 states were actively managing
                          non-NPL cleanups.

                          Nonetheless, the states vary in their capability to assume greater NPL
                          responsibilities. A recent position paper prepared by the Regional
                          Superfund Division Directors for the Assistant Administrator for Solid
                          Waste and Emergency Response noted, for example, that while some
                          states have authorities, cleanup standards, staffing, and technical
                          resources that match or exceed those of EPA, others have few or no
                          specific authorities for cleaning up contaminated sites, no independent
                          cleanup standards, and/or limited staffing and technical resources. In such
                          situations, national criteria on states’ readiness to lead NPL cleanups could
                          help guide regions and states through their negotiations as they decide
                          which responsibilities the states should assume and which should remain
                          with EPA.11

                          The experiences of New Hampshire and Texas illustrate how such criteria
                          could help to achieve agreement on the delegation of responsibilities to
                          the state, and perhaps to explain and justify the decisions made. In each of
                          these cases, the state’s perception of its capability to assume added
                          responsibilities without detailed regional oversight was at variance with
                          that of EPA. Specifically, the two states believed that their experience,

                          10
                           Environmental Law Institute, “An Analysis of State Superfund Programs: 50-State Study, 1995
                          Update” (ELI Project No. 941724).
                          11
                            The term “criteria” refers to the critical program elements a state needs to handle its lead
                          responsibilities. Other environmental statutes establish criteria that states must meet before EPA
                          approves their programs. For example, a state wishing to administer a hazardous waste program under
                          the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) must apply to EPA for authorization. Unless
                          EPA finds that the state’s proposed program is not equivalent to the federal program, or is inconsistent
                          with the federal or other state programs, or would not provide adequate enforcement of compliance
                          with RCRA requirements, the state is authorized to carry out its program.



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resources, and commitment demonstrated that they were capable of
overseeing cleanups of PRP-financed sites as well as fund-financed sites.
Their respective regions (Boston and Dallas) questioned whether the
states had the resources to oversee these cleanups. In addition, the Boston
office questioned whether New Hampshire had the legal authority to take
effective action against PRPs if necessary.

Without any objective criteria for decision-making, a regional
determination under such circumstances could perpetuate the appearance
of an arbitrary regional decision—a problem that was cited in earlier years
in connection with EPA’s delegation of the hazardous waste management
program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In a
1990 EPA analysis of that program entitled, “The Nation’s Hazardous Waste
Management Program at a Crossroads,” a federal/state roles
subcommittee—which included representation from both EPA and state
cleanup agencies—noted that “regions, states, and some headquarters
officials [felt] that standards for what constitutes adequate state capability
[were] unclear and a moving target.” The report quoted one respondent as
noting that the standard for sufficient capability was “one of the great
mysteries of life.”

To help avoid repetition of this problem, written criteria—prepared with
state input—could help to (1) communicate the region’s rationale in
making its decision, (2) convey to the state a better understanding of the
decision and any deficiencies that would need to be addressed in order for
the state to assume the responsibilities it seeks, and (3) help to ensure that
decisions on this matter are based more on an objective assessment of a
state’s readiness and less on an individual regional manager’s preferences.
Officials in both the Boston and Dallas offices said that having such
criteria would be useful in helping to determine if states can lead NPL site
cleanups and in justifying the regions’ decisions.

A recent EPA headquarters effort suggests that EPA may already be moving
to establish criteria to assess states’ readiness to assume greater NPL
cleanup responsibilities. Acknowledging the increasing interest among the
states to assume greater Superfund responsibilities, EPA is seeking to
establish minimum standards against which the state could compare its
current program. In doing so, the state and its EPA regional office would
know whether the state was ready to assume greater cleanup
responsibilities, or whether certain improvements needed to be made first.
The agency therefore established a workgroup, made up of both EPA and
state officials, to develop a process for regions and states to use in



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                                  assessing states’ readiness and developmental needs. According to the
                                  leader of the State Readiness Workgroup, this process will consider all
                                  major programmatic areas, including technical response activities,
                                  enforcement, and financial management.

                                  To date, the workgroup has met with officials from other environmental
                                  programs to discuss the criteria they use and the lessons they have learned
                                  in determining states’ readiness to assume greater responsibilities for
                                  those programs. In addition, the workgroup has identified various aspects
                                  of the cleanup process, such as site identification and enforcement, and is
                                  attempting to identify the resources needed to carry out these
                                  responsibilities.12

Criteria Should Facilitate, Not   We believe such criteria would be an important ingredient in any strategy
Complicate, a Greater State       to provide states with greater NPL cleanup responsibilities. Their success,
Role                              however, will depend heavily on the approach taken by the agency.
                                  Specifically, detailed and prescriptive criteria could have the effect of
                                  preventing, rather than encouraging, a greater state leadership role in NPL
                                  cleanups. The state officials interviewed generally told us that this had
                                  indeed been their states’ experience with the hazardous waste
                                  management program authorized by RCRA—a view widely supported in the
                                  1990 EPA report noted above. Among other problems, the report noted that
                                  “rather than examining the overall environmental effectiveness of a
                                  program, the states believe EPA compares every aspect of a state’s program
                                  to some theoretical ideal.” The report further observed that “states believe
                                  they are held to higher standards than those by which EPA judges itself”
                                  and that meeting EPA’s requirements in the reauthorization process led
                                  many states to “question whether receiving and maintaining authorization
                                  is worth this extensive use of state resources.”

                                  These sentiments were echoed by officials from most of the five states we
                                  visited, who all expressed their desire that EPA’s criteria not be used to

                                  12
                                    The concept of developing criteria to assess states’ readiness to lead NPL cleanups was also
                                  considered by the Congress last year, as part of the larger question of how to encourage a greater state
                                  role in NPL cleanups. Specifically, two Superfund reauthorization bills, H.R. 2500 and S. 1285, would
                                  have established procedures for delegation and limited EPA’s authority at NPL sites for which states
                                  had assumed responsibility. Recognizing that the decisions to allow states to lead site cleanups should
                                  be made consistently, both bills would have required states to certify that they had adequate legal
                                  authority and resources to carry out the delegated cleanup responsibilities. Specifically, H.R. 2500
                                  would have required the states to certify that they have the legal authority to ask for and receive the
                                  requested delegation and to enforce the authorities requested for delegation. States without approved
                                  RCRA corrective action programs would also have had to certify that they had the financial resources
                                  to administer and enforce the requested authorities. S. 1285 would have required the states to certify
                                  that they have adequate legal authority, resources, and public involvement procedures to carry out
                                  delegated authorities. Under each bill, EPA could deny a state’s request for delegation if it found that
                                  the state did not possess the legal authority or resources addressed in the certification.



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                          impose unnecessary and unwanted program requirements that limit states’
                          flexibility to tailor their programs to meet their needs. Each maintained
                          that a repeat of the RCRA experience would indeed discourage their states
                          from assuming greater Superfund cleanup responsibilities.

                          One way to help ensure that criteria facilitate, rather than complicate,
                          greater state involvement in the program is to provide for state
                          representation throughout the criteria development process and to ensure
                          that states’ views are reflected in the final product. It would also be useful
                          if the ground rules for criteria development include an understanding that
                          the final product must be consistent with EPA’s stated intention of
                          providing greater opportunities for states to lead NPL cleanups.


Working Agreements Help   Once states are deemed “ready” to handle an increased cleanup
to Clearly Delineate      responsibility, they need an effective and efficient working relationship
Agencies’ Roles           with their EPA regional offices for the cleanup process to work as intended.
                          Such a relationship would minimize the duplication of effort by both
                          agencies, allowing both to use their limited resources most effectively. The
                          need for such an approach was highlighted in the Regional Superfund
                          Division Directors’ position paper cited above, which noted that:

                          “EPA regions and state agencies should form partnerships to address contaminated sites.
                          They should divide the work, using both state and EPA funds and enforcement tools and
                          resources, minimizing overlap. The division of work will differ in each state, based on the
                          workload, interests, and resources of the state and the EPA region . . . . EPA regions and
                          states should consult on a regular basis about their division of labor on specific sites.”


                          We found that EPA regions and their states could best achieve an effective
                          working relationship through an explicit agreement that clearly divides EPA
                          and state responsibilities. This lesson became most abundantly clear in the
                          case of Washington, where preexisting conflict had led to paralysis among
                          state and EPA regulators, to the detriment of other participants and the
                          cleanup process as a whole. In this case, a written agreement signed by
                          regional and state management served both to institutionalize the
                          arrangement and communicate it to staffs of both agencies, PRPs, and other
                          participants in the cleanup process at all of the state’s NPL sites.

                          Few states have achieved the division of responsibility experienced by
                          Washington and EPA’s Seattle office. But it is reasonable to assume that
                          other states and regions could benefit from a systematic analysis of how
                          their efforts could better complement rather than duplicate each other. In




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              the cases of Texas and New Hampshire, for example, efficiencies could
              still be achieved by reconsidering whether all documents need to be
              approved by both state and EPA authorities, or whether all state actions
              should require EPA’s approval before going into effect. Officials from each
              of these two states supported this concept as an opportunity to eliminate
              much of the duplication of effort that has affected their program. Their
              respective regions, however, did not see a real need for an “umbrella” type
              of agreement. Both the Associate Director of EPA’s Boston Office of Site
              Remediation and Restoration and the Branch Chief of EPA’s Dallas
              Superfund Division said the roles and responsibilities are clearly
              delineated in each of the cooperative agreements established between the
              region and state when the state accepts the lead responsibility for a
              particular site.

              EPA headquarters, however, recently established a workgroup to promote
              agreements between states and EPA on how best to develop an enhanced
              state role in cleaning up NPL sites. EPA created this group in order to be in a
              better position in the event that Superfund is reauthorized and provisions
              are included to enhance the states’ cleanup role. The group is made up of
              both EPA and state representatives. According to the leader of the State-EPA
              Agreements Workgroup, they are attempting to develop a model
              agreement to be used by regions and states. Clearly defined EPA and state
              roles will be critical components of the agreement. This workgroup is
              cooperating with the other three workgroups and hopes to have its model
              agreement drafted in the spring of 1997 based on the results of the other
              workgroups and ongoing efforts to reauthorize Superfund.

              We believe that the model agreement growing out of this workgroup’s
              efforts could help to promote greater efficiency in NPL cleanups across the
              country. But much depends on the philosophy behind the exercise.
              Specifically, the agreement should reinforce the position stated by the
              Regional Superfund Division Directors’ position paper, and other parties
              within EPA and among the states, that the Superfund cleanup process must
              move toward a greater division of responsibilities between EPA and state
              regulators, and with a level of EPA oversight that is commensurate with the
              states’ cleanup capabilities.


              The concept of providing the states with greater responsibility to manage
Conclusions   Superfund NPL cleanups has broad support among EPA, the Congress, and
              many other participants in the cleanup process. Moreover, many states
              have substantially augmented their capabilities to lead Superfund cleanups



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                         in recent years and have expressed an interest in taking on these
                         responsibilities. However, as the regions move forward in making
                         decisions about which responsibilities should be delegated to individual
                         states, clear EPA criteria will be needed to help regions (1) communicate
                         the rationale behind their decisions to the affected states and (2) convey to
                         the states a clear understanding of any deficiencies that would need to be
                         addressed in order for them to assume the responsibilities they seek. Such
                         criteria would also help to ensure that decisions on this matter are based
                         on an objective assessment of a state’s readiness. To avoid repeating the
                         problems widely acknowledged by EPA and state officials as affecting the
                         development of criteria under EPA’s RCRA program, the criteria should be
                         developed with state input and should be prepared in a manner that is
                         consistent with EPA’s stated intention of providing greater opportunities
                         for states to lead NPL cleanups.

                         Once these decisions are made, EPA and the states need a constructive and
                         efficient working arrangement characterized by a clear division of
                         responsibilities and a level of EPA oversight commensurate with each
                         state’s capabilities. A useful practice in establishing this relationship has
                         been an explicit agreement between senior management representing both
                         EPA and state agencies, which articulates each agency’s responsibilities
                         and the manner in which EPA’s oversight will be exercised.


                         We recommend that the Administrator, EPA, direct the Office of Solid
Recommendations to       Waste and Emergency Response to work with state representatives in
the Administrator,       developing:
EPA
                     •   Criteria identifying the requirements and circumstances under which
                         states may be granted additional responsibilities to clean up NPL sites. The
                         criteria development process should involve state representation and its
                         outcome should be consistent with EPA’s expressed desire to encourage
                         greater state responsibilities in NPL cleanups.
                     •   Guidance on how EPA regions and states can best divide NPL cleanup
                         responsibilities. The guidance should recommend use of an explicit
                         agreement articulating each side’s responsibilities and should reinforce
                         the agency’s stated goal of eliminating duplication of effort by EPA and
                         state regulators overseeing NPL cleanups.


                         EPA officials said that we provided an accurate description of EPA-state
Agency Comments          relations in the Superfund program, including how past problems (such as



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duplication of effort) impeded cleanups and how a better working
relationship could improve the cleanup process. They also agreed with our
assessment that states have demonstrated a range of experience in leading
NPL cleanups. They agreed with our recommendation that EPA develop
criteria under which states may be granted additional responsibilities and
noted that it was consistent with work being undertaken by the agency’s
State Readiness Workgroup. They acknowledged the problems we
identified with past efforts to develop criteria under the RCRA program and
agreed with our recommendation that the outcome of the criteria
development in the Superfund program must be consistent with EPA’s
expressed desire to encourage greater state responsibilities in NPL
cleanups.

The officials also agreed with our recommendation calling for guidance on
how EPA regions and states can divide NPL cleanup responsibilities, again
noting that the agency is examining this issue through another workgroup.
The officials did not address the specific recommendation calling for an
explicit agreement articulating EPA and state responsibilities for states’ NPL
sites. We acknowledge the efforts of the agency’s workgroup in this area.
On the basis of our findings during this review, we continue to believe that
the agency’s efforts will stand a greater chance of achieving their goals on
this matter if those efforts (1) encourage the use of an explicit agreement
articulating both EPA and state responsibilities and (2) result in guidance
that is consistent with EPA’s stated goal of eliminating duplication of effort
by EPA and state regulators.

Officials in each of the five states reviewed sections of this chapter
describing their Superfund programs and their relationship with their
respective EPA regional offices. In each case, the officials agreed with the
thrust of the information provided but offered clarifications and suggested
revisions. These changes were incorporated as appropriate.




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Superfund Responsibilities
               A positive and constructive EPA-state relationship is important but will
               only go part of the way toward enabling the states to carry out additional
               NPL cleanup responsibilities successfully. Most face technical and resource
               limitations in expanding their NPL cleanup role—especially given the
               magnitude and complexity of these sites. Officials in each of the five states
               visited acknowledged that they have used, and must continue to use, EPA’s
               considerable technical expertise and resources to complete many NPL
               cleanups. They stressed in particular the need for EPA’s technical
               assistance in developing innovative cleanup technologies and in evaluating
               the effectiveness of such technologies. The states also discussed the need
               for EPA’s technical assistance in, among other things, assessing the health
               and environmental risks of sites, generating standards and technical
               guidance, and sharing information across states and regions. EPA has
               acknowledged that it will need to provide such assistance but has yet to
               develop a plan that identifies specific state technical needs and a strategy
               to meet them.

               In addition to the provision of technical support, officials in the five states
               unanimously maintained that continued EPA involvement in certain areas is
               needed to keep an expanded state NPL cleanup role from imposing an
               unacceptable resource burden on the states. In particular, they noted that
               EPA will need to continue leading cleanups at some sites involving
               unusually large and complex remediations, large-scale emergency removal
               actions, or cases in which a PRP cannot be identified (“orphan” sites). In
               addition, each state has, on occasion, used the threat of turning a site over
               to EPA as a tool for encouraging cooperation from PRPs. Officials cited this
               EPA role as an effective way to encourage reluctant PRPs to participate in
               site cleanups and agreed that the option to use EPA as a backup regulatory
               authority should also continue.

               In addition, each state maintained that the federal government needs to
               continue its financial commitment to NPL site cleanups. All five states rely
               to some degree on EPA funding, primarily through a variety of cooperative
               agreements, to support their current level of participation in NPL cleanups.
               Officials in each state maintained that while their respective states are
               willing to take on more of the federal government’s traditional role in
               leading NPL cleanups, they are not in a position to assume an additional
               financial burden of cleaning up these sites.




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                               Officials in the five states we visited indicated that they rely upon EPA, to
States Leading NPL             varying degrees, for technical assistance to help them lead Superfund
Cleanups Look to EPA           cleanups. In particular, these officials mentioned that they rely on the
for Technical Support          agency to (1) provide expertise and advice about technical issues that
                               arise at specific state-led sites, (2) conduct and fund research having
                               potential applications for hazardous waste cleanups, and (3) develop
                               standards and technical guidance. All agreed that their needs in these and
                               other areas will continue if they take on additional program
                               responsibilities. In addition to the state officials, other stakeholders in the
                               Superfund process, namely industry representatives and environmental
                               organizations, also cited instances in which they have relied, and expect to
                               continue to rely, upon EPA for technical support.


Site-Specific Assistance       One of the key ways in which EPA has provided assistance to the states
                               leading Superfund cleanups has been to offer technical expertise at
                               state-led NPL sites. Officials described two situations in which EPA has
                               offered valuable technical assistance:

                           •   The agency has provided expertise on complex issues that are beyond the
                               state’s own in-house technical capability.
                           •   States have used EPA as a consultant, or “sounding board,” in dealing with
                               difficult problems or making difficult decisions.

                               One area in which EPA has provided particularly valuable expertise has
                               been in helping evaluate innovative technologies proposed as remedies for
                               NPL sites. As an example, New Hampshire officials cited EPA’s assistance in
                               evaluating an innovative remediation strategy proposed by a PRP for the
                               Dover Municipal Landfill. The proposal involved bioremediation, which
                               uses microorganisms to break down contaminants into less harmful forms,
                               such as carbon dioxide and water. The officials indicated that the state did
                               not have staff with the necessary knowledge to evaluate this proposal on
                               their own, and therefore they relied on a bioremediation expert from one
                               of EPA’s Environmental Research Laboratories to help in evaluating the
                               proposal’s feasibility. They found the EPA scientist’s assistance extremely
                               helpful, noting that this expert also suggested ways to pilot test the
                               proposal’s effectiveness before a final remediation decision was made. On
                               the basis of the scientist’s advice and guidance, state officials eventually
                               concluded that the remediation would indeed be effective and would cost
                               about $10 million less than the traditional pump-and-treat and capping
                               remediation that would otherwise have been used at this site.




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                          Some of the state officials indicated that they also have found EPA to be a
                          valuable sounding board to get a second opinion on how to handle
                          technical problems at sites. For example, officials from Texas indicated
                          that some of their counterparts in EPA’s Dallas office have served as
                          effective problem solvers on a number of technical and/or engineering
                          issues. Likewise, the state project manager for the Centralia Municipal
                          Landfill NPL site in Washington described how helpful it was to “have the
                          ability to check in with EPA” on technical and policy issues. She explained,
                          for example, that it was useful to ask her EPA colleagues how to assess
                          arsenic contamination data at the site, particularly because the site is
                          located in an area with high background levels of the contaminant. She
                          said that getting a second opinion on such matters from EPA was
                          particularly valuable because the EPA staff could draw on the agency’s
                          experiences in other states.


Research                  In addition to obtaining site-specific technical assistance from EPA, state
                          officials have relied, to varying degrees, upon EPA for research support.
                          State officials told us that conducting or funding such research is beyond
                          the capabilities of most states. Some officials also commented that such
                          efforts would be inefficient for each state to do on its own.

                          Some of the state, industry, and environmental stakeholders were
                          especially interested in EPA’s efforts to promote the development of
                          cost-effective, innovative cleanup technologies.1 Some cited the Superfund
                          Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) program as a particularly useful
                          EPA effort. Through the SITE program, EPA, among other things, provides
                          financial assistance to developers of new technologies undergoing
                          laboratory tests and disseminates information about the cost,
                          performance, reliability, and applicability of new technologies.2


Standards and Technical   As with research support, some state officials, as well as some industry
Guidance                  stakeholders, indicated that they look to EPA to provide standards and
                          technical guidance on a variety of matters. For example, EPA has guidance
                          for assessing risks at Superfund sites as well as for selecting remedies for
                          these sites.



                          1
                           EPA considers a technology to be innovative if it has not been used in a full-scale application or if it is
                          the first-time application of an existing technology to a new contaminant.
                          2
                           For more information about the SITE program, see Superfund: Use of Innovative Technologies for
                          Site Cleanups (GAO/T-RCED-96-45).



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                       Part of EPA’s remedy selection guidance, dealing with presumptive
                       remedies, was cited by several stakeholders as being very helpful in
                       achieving timely and cost-effective cleanups. These documents describe
                       how to study particular types of sites (e.g., municipal landfills or sites
                       contaminated with particular chemicals) and then offer the remedies likely
                       to be useful for those sites. In addition, the Wisconsin Department of
                       Natural Resources’ site manager for the Sauk County Landfill cited as
                       being very helpful EPA’s guidance on conducting remedial
                       investigations/feasibility studies at municipal landfills. According to this
                       official, following this guidance allowed early action to be taken toward
                       capping the Sauk County site, which ultimately cut more than a year from
                       the time needed to complete the remediation.


                       Superfund program managers in the five states agreed that as their states
EPA’s Future Role in   continue to take a larger role in managing Superfund cleanups, they will
Providing Technical    continue to turn to EPA for technical assistance. Similarly, some
Assistance             representatives from industry and environmental organizations also called
                       upon EPA to move away from directly managing cleanups, when possible,
                       and to target its efforts in the Superfund program to providing greater
                       technical support to the states. In some cases, these officials called for a
                       continued EPA role in providing current services, such as in developing
                       standards and technical guidance for state regulators to use in making site
                       cleanup decisions. In other instances, they called for a new or enhanced
                       EPA role, such as a more concerted effort to serve as a clearinghouse that
                       promotes information sharing among states, industry, environmental
                       organizations, and communities affected by Superfund cleanups.

                       Some of the state officials said that the overall need for EPA’s technical
                       assistance will not only continue, but may well increase—particularly
                       since many of the states taking on greater NPL cleanup responsibilities will
                       generally have greater technical assistance needs than the relatively
                       experienced states discussed in this report.3 For example, technical
                       training needs were discussed by representatives of “small states” at the
                       August 1996 Superfund Managers’ Conference sponsored by ASTSWMO. In
                       discussing the states’ anticipated increased role in the Superfund program,
                       the representatives of these states indicated that they would need
                       considerable technical training from EPA in order to take on greater
                       Superfund responsibilities.



                       3
                        As noted in chapter 1, the five states were chosen in large part because they already have had
                       significant experience leading NPL cleanups.



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                          EPA has acknowledged its responsibility to meet this challenge but has yet
                          to detail a specific plan that systematically identifies states’ needs and how
                          the agency intends to meet these needs. Without such a plan, there is little
                          assurance that states’ technical needs for site-specific assistance, new and
                          more efficient cleanup technologies, and other technical information will
                          be met. On the basis of our discussions with state and EPA officials and
                          with industry and environmental representatives, the following describes
                          some of the needs that such a plan may address.


Continued Need for        The state officials interviewed agreed that while their cleanup capabilities
Site-Specific Technical   will continue to increase over time, they will still need to draw upon EPA’s
Assistance                technical resources and expertise on site-specific matters. For example,
                          some mentioned the need for continued EPA assistance in evaluating
                          innovative remedy proposals at state-led sites and for EPA’s advice on
                          complex technical or engineering questions as they arise at specific sites.

                          Some officials also suggested creative ways in which future EPA assistance
                          could be made available. Officials from EPA’s Seattle office, for example,
                          suggested that states may be able to take greater advantage of EPA’s pool
                          of technical contractors. They noted that in some circumstances, EPA’s
                          contractors may possess expertise (e.g., cleaning up radiation waste)
                          unavailable at either the state or EPA. They suggested that the agency
                          would still need to work through the procedures by which states could tap
                          into such contractor expertise.


Continued Need for EPA    Officials from all five states, as well as other stakeholders, indicated that
Research on Innovative    EPA will need to expand its support for research and development,

Cleanup Technologies      emphasizing the need for research on innovative, cost-effective hazardous
                          waste cleanup technologies. They cited a number of factors driving the
                          need for such technologies, including (1) the increasing number of
                          hazardous waste sites (both NPL and non-NPL sites), (2) constraints on state
                          and federal cleanup budgets, (3) the increasing costs of remediation, and
                          (4) the need to encourage the redevelopment of such sites, which they
                          believe is not likely to happen without cost-effective cleanups.

                          These officials suggested a number of ways in which EPA’s research role
                          could be expanded, such as providing additional grants to support
                          university and private sector research. One state official suggested that EPA
                          could work with private companies to develop new products or techniques
                          useful in hazardous waste cleanups. In return, the companies could get an



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                            Chapter 3
                            States Will Need Technical and Financial
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                            Superfund Responsibilities




                            “EPA endorsement” of their products or techniques. Others suggested that
                            EPA could use fund-financed sites as demonstration projects for testing
                            innovative cleanup technologies. Under this strategy, Superfund, not
                            private PRPs, would absorb the financial risk if an innovative technology
                            did not work and a second, more traditional remedy had to be used
                            instead.

                            Several state officials expressed strong interest in future research that
                            would allow greater use of bioremediation in cleanups. On the basis of
                            applications of the techniques to date, bioremediation is seen by many as
                            holding promise for future cleanups. According to the Section Manager of
                            Washington’s Toxics Cleanup Program, for example, the state’s experience
                            suggests that while a cleanup using bioremediation may take longer than
                            one using more traditional engineering methods, the cleanup using
                            bioremediation can be more cost-effective.


Need for EPA to Play a      Many of the state, industrial, and environmental officials we interviewed
Greater Role as an          said that while they use EPA as a source of information on a variety of
Information Clearinghouse   technical issues, the agency’s central role in addressing the nation’s
                            hazardous waste problems should allow it to serve more effectively as a
                            national clearinghouse. State officials and others in the cleanup process
                            consistently told us that they want EPA to provide easier access to
                            information about what is happening at other NPL sites across the country.
                            The information needs they mentioned included such items as
                            toxicological data about chemical contaminants and advice from
                            community organizations with experience in promoting effective public
                            participation in the Superfund process.

                            The most frequently cited need, however, was for information about
                            innovative cleanup technologies. For example, officials from the USX
                            Corporation, a steel and energy company, told us that having been
                            involved at more than 80 Superfund sites, they have been frustrated when
                            EPA or state regulators from one region or state were reluctant to consider
                            the company’s success in using innovative remedies at other sites with
                            similar contamination problems. The USX officials said that it would be
                            helpful if EPA headquarters could disseminate this kind of information to
                            EPA regional staff and state regulators and encourage them to consider
                            these alternatives’ success at different sites around the country. According
                            to the USX officials, this practice would also help promote consistency in
                            the cleanup decisions being made from one region of the country to
                            another.



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                            Superfund Responsibilities




An Overall Strategy Would   Aside from the specific roles suggested above, a well-focused strategy
Help EPA Meet States’       would help EPA identify states’ future technical assistance requirements
Future Technical            and help ensure that those requirements are met. The need for such a
                            strategy has indeed been recognized by some within the agency, including
Assistance Needs            the Regional Superfund Division Directors. In their July 1996 position
                            paper, for example, they noted that states’ technical capabilities vary
                            widely and suggested a number of areas in which the agency could
                            augment its technical assistance (many of which were also identified
                            during our interviews).4

                            In addition, EPA formed a workgroup last year to address these issues.
                            According to officials in EPA’s State, Tribal, and Site Identification Center,
                            the workgroup has begun to gather perspectives from state officials about
                            their technical assistance needs and expectations. We believe this is an
                            important prerequisite toward addressing the issues raised in this chapter
                            by the state, industry, and environmental representatives contacted during
                            our work. Completing this information-gathering exercise, and then
                            following through with a systematic plan identifying how these needs will
                            be met, would go a long way toward providing states with the tools they
                            need to assume greater NPL cleanup responsibilities.


                            In addition to the technical challenges involved in leading complex
States Leading NPL          hazardous waste cleanups, states have also cited budgetary constraints as
Cleanups Look to EPA        a significant factor affecting their inclination and ability to take on
for Assistance in           additional NPL cleanup responsibilities. State officials asserted that federal
                            dollars currently support significant segments of their programs and
Meeting Resource            constitute the greatest portion of most publicly funded NPL cleanups.
Needs                       Overwhelmingly, these state officials said that their states’ budgets could
                            not support new Superfund responsibilities without continued federal
                            financial support. They also said EPA can help states conserve their
                            resources by (1) continuing to lead some cleanups and (2) retaining its
                            capacity to act as a backup regulatory authority to encourage recalcitrant
                            PRPs to cooperate with state cleanup authorities.



States Depend on Federal    Officials from all five states acknowledged that EPA’s financial support has
Funding                     been instrumental both in assisting them to build and maintain their
                            Superfund programs and to carry out site-specific work. EPA’s main vehicle
                            for providing the states with such financial support is the cooperative

                            4
                             Specifically, the position paper identified the need for site-specific technical assistance to support
                            state implementation of investigations and cleanups; assistance on risk assessment and sampling
                            methods; and access to information on innovative technologies.



                            Page 41                  GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
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States Will Need Technical and Financial
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agreement. Cooperative agreements support agency funding for
non-time-critical removal assistance, enforcement assistance, pre-remedial
and remedial planning, and remedial actions, and provide funding for core
grants. Core grants provide the states with general program management
assistance, such as recordkeeping and computer resources, while the
other categories provide site-specific assistance.5

In connection with site-specific work, EPA and the states share the
responsibilities and costs of site cleanups, but ultimately EPA pays for large
portions of most publicly funded cleanups. For example, during fiscal
years 1991 through 1996, EPA provided the 50 states an average of
$144.3 million per year in cooperative agreement funds. States depend on
this funding to help finance their participation in NPL cleanups.
Cooperative agreements can provide states with significant amounts of
money to pay for particular cleanups. In fiscal year 1994, for example,
Texas received cooperative agreement funds totaling almost $30.5 million,
at least in part to pay EPA’s share of a remedial action.

In funding the implementation of a particular remedial action for cleanups
financed by the federal trust fund (regardless of whether EPA or the state
has the lead), EPA contributes 90 percent of the cleanup costs for sites that
were privately operated. The states assume ultimate responsibility for
performing 100 percent of all operation and maintenance at fund-financed
sites. If PRPs finance the site remediation, then they pay for the entire
cleanup, including operation and maintenance.

Officials in all five states emphasized that in light of their own budget
constraints, they could not accept additional Superfund responsibilities
unless EPA continues its historical role of providing general program
support and site-specific funding. Texas, for example, is the lead agency
on 10 of 28 NPL site cleanups and is studying another 11 sites for possible
inclusion on the NPL. However, the state is also working on 47 non-NPL
sites—some of which involve extensive cleanups. According to the
director of the Texas Superfund program, the state is already having great
difficulty funding its NPL and non-NPL responsibilities. As a result, he said,
the state could take on additional duties only if EPA continues to provide
financial support.


5
 In addition, EPA has provided funding for other Superfund activities, such as technical assistance
grants (TAG) for communities. These grants permit community members to hire independent advisors
who can help them understand technical information pertaining to an NPL site, such as remedy
proposals or information about the health risks posed by site contaminants. One community group
with whom we met stressed that TAGs are important tools in keeping the local community involved in
NPL cleanups, which can help speed the remediation process.



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The EPA Regional Superfund Division Directors’ position paper
acknowledged these resource constraints, adding that

“Now, as states are picking up more direct implementation responsibility, EPA has an
increasing role in providing assistance and support to enhance the effectiveness of state
programs. EPA can assist in building the capacity of state programs, and also provides
ongoing support to maintain state program capacity.”


In particular, the paper noted that while many state cleanup programs
have grown in recent years, the total workload of contaminated sites (NPL
and non-NPL) is much greater than state resources alone can handle—a
problem exacerbated in many states by budget reductions. Among the
states we visited, Washington, Wisconsin, and Texas are experiencing such
cutbacks. In Washington, for example, state funding for the Toxics
Cleanup Program, which supports the state’s Superfund activities, has
declined 30 percent since 1993. In Wisconsin, according to the Director of
the Bureau of Remediation and Redevelopment, the state Superfund
legislative appropriation has declined roughly 40 percent over the past 2
years. And the Director of the Texas Superfund program reported that his
appropriation for fiscal year 1998 has been reduced by almost 50 percent
from its fiscal year 1997 level.

EPA’s workgroup on providing technical and financial assistance to the
states held its first face-to-face meeting in February 1997, focusing on how
current cooperative agreements can be combined to provide states with
greater spending flexibility. Currently, most states have fairly large
numbers of cooperative agreements for pre-remedial, remedial, site
assessment, and core activities. Federal regulations restrict states in how
they can use this money to fund NPL cleanup activities. The technical and
financial assistance workgroup is studying ways that such multiple
cooperative agreements can be combined to make it easier for states to
move federal funds to program areas where they are needed most. EPA’s
Chicago and Denver offices have pilot projects under way to test how this
kind of block funding might work. For example, Illinois and the Chicago
office have entered into an agreement whereby all of the state’s Superfund
cooperative agreements (except for remedial actions and emergency
removals) will be combined into a single agreement. According to the
Director of EPA’s State, Tribal, and Site Identification Center, this type of
arrangement requires only an exception from the EPA regulations, which
has been forthcoming in most cases. The workgroup plans to have a
follow-up meeting on these issues in May 1997.




Page 43               GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
                            Chapter 3
                            States Will Need Technical and Financial
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                            Superfund Responsibilities




Some Sites Require an EPA   EPA regional officials, as well as several state officials, agreed that even
Lead                        states with strong Superfund programs sometimes need EPA to assume
                            lead responsibilities at certain sites. According to these officials, some
                            sites can present a unique set of problems, or the state may simply have its
                            resources fully committed at other site cleanups already under way.

                            For example, the Section Manager of the Washington Department of
                            Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program noted that the Commencement Bay
                            site near Tacoma was a site that the state was glad to have EPA lead. He
                            elaborated that the site was enormous, covering the entire bay and
                            involving numerous industries, and that the state cleanup program was
                            somewhat new when the site was listed on the NPL in 1983. EPA’s presence
                            at this site helped to get the various PRPs actively involved, and it probably
                            helped to get them involved more quickly than if the state had tried to act
                            alone. However, he added that since the Washington program has
                            matured, it does not necessarily shy away from sites simply because they
                            are large, complicated, or have reluctant PRPs. He cited the Hanford
                            Nuclear Reservation as a large and complicated site for which the state
                            has largely assumed the lead. He noted, however, that there are instances
                            in which it makes sense for EPA to take the lead. Washington and EPA
                            usually try to agree on who should take lead responsibility on a
                            case-by-case basis. The lead designation is based on a joint assessment of
                            the factors involved at individual sites, such as whether the situation
                            involves great political sensitivity, unusually difficult technical issues, or
                            numerous PRPs.

                            A state’s ability and willingness to assume the lead can also be affected by
                            its existing workload. For example, Wisconsin officials told us they
                            initially accepted the lead for the N.W. Mauthe site but relinquished it
                            when the state’s project manager left the agency and other qualified staff
                            members were fully occupied at other sites.

                            EPA also typically carries out removal actions for large chemical spills and
                            other time-critical cleanups. Officials in New Hampshire cited the Manville
                            asbestos site as a large removal operation that required EPA’s resources
                            and expertise. They noted that the state’s removal program can handle
                            only relatively small spills and that the state must rely on EPA for larger
                            removals, such as Manville. According to the Regional Superfund Division
                            Directors’ position paper, some states have expressed an interest in
                            carrying out such emergency cleanups but may be precluded from doing
                            so under current regulations. They indicated that the agency could explore
                            the circumstances under which a state lead in these instances would be



                            Page 44              GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
                       Chapter 3
                       States Will Need Technical and Financial
                       Support If They Are to Assume Greater
                       Superfund Responsibilities




                       advisable. EPA headquarters and its Boston and Dallas offices are currently
                       working with ASTSWMO and the states of New Hampshire and Texas to pilot
                       state-led, federally funded removal actions. According to EPA, plans call for
                       obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals to initiate these pilots during
                       fiscal year 1997.


EPA as a Backup        The cooperation of PRPs is important, both because they are an important
Regulatory Authority   potential source of revenue needed for the cleanup and because their
                       recalcitrance can drain the state’s enforcement capacity. However, such
                       cooperation is sometimes difficult to obtain. Superfund officials in all five
                       states agreed, however, that EPA’s mere presence is often enough to gain
                       cooperation from recalcitrant PRPs because they generally prefer to deal
                       with the state rather than EPA.

                       The Section Manager of Washington’s Toxics Cleanup Program, for
                       example, attested to the effectiveness of EPA’s role as a backup regulatory
                       authority, noting that PRPs know that “EPA is only a phone call away.” He
                       explained that PRPs know that if they do not deal in good faith with the
                       state, then they will have to deal with EPA, a prospect that most of them
                       find less desirable. Officials in New Hampshire noted that it is not usually
                       necessary to mention EPA in the course of discussions with PRPs because
                       they know that New Hampshire will not hesitate to call on EPA for
                       assistance, if necessary. The director of the Texas Superfund program
                       credited EPA’s enforcement presence as an important factor in the success
                       of the state’s voluntary cleanup program. EPA’s Regional Superfund
                       Division Directors also referred to this role for EPA in their position paper,
                       suggesting that

                       “If EPA’s independent ability to take action at sites is maintained and properly employed, it
                       can be a tool to enhance state programs. This independence can create incentives for PRPs
                       to cooperate with states when they otherwise might not.”


                       These views were consistent with the opinions expressed during our
                       discussions with industry representatives. Business and industry groups
                       from New Hampshire, Texas, and Wisconsin all said that many of their
                       members would go to great lengths to avoid having to deal with EPA, or
                       become involved in the federal Superfund process. According to these
                       representatives, PRPs often find EPA-led sites more expensive and EPA’s
                       process and procedural requirements less flexible. They added that PRPs
                       frequently find state officials more accessible, allowing them to have a
                       greater voice in decisions affecting them.




                       Page 45               GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
                     Chapter 3
                     States Will Need Technical and Financial
                     Support If They Are to Assume Greater
                     Superfund Responsibilities




                     Having gained substantial hazardous waste cleanup experience over the
Conclusions          years, many states have demonstrated both a willingness and capability to
                     take on additional Superfund cleanup responsibilities. Moreover, citing
                     constraints on its own budget and staff, EPA has stated that the number
                     and timeliness of cleanups can be improved with greater state
                     involvement. Yet even the most experienced states will require some level
                     of continued research support and technical information from EPA, and
                     less experienced states may require additional assistance.

                     The states’ capability and willingness to participate in future Superfund
                     cleanups will also be contingent on continued federal financial
                     participation. Other key EPA roles that could help alleviate the states’
                     resource constraints as they take on a greater Superfund cleanup role
                     include (1) continuing to manage cleanups and large-scale emergency
                     removals that are beyond the states’ capacity and (2) retaining its capacity
                     as a backup regulatory authority to encourage recalcitrant PRPs to
                     cooperate with state cleanup authorities.

                     EPA has acknowledged that it must play an increased role in helping to
                     meet both the technical and financial needs of participating states, but it
                     has yet to outline a strategy that identifies specific state needs and the
                     manner in which the agency intends to meet these needs. Without such a
                     strategy, there is little assurance that the states’ technical and financial
                     needs will be adequately addressed.

                     To its credit, the agency has established workgroups to obtain input from
                     states and other participants on these issues. We believe the agency needs
                     to pursue this process to its logical conclusion by developing the kind of
                     comprehensive strategy needed to overcome the key technical and
                     financial barriers to a broader state role in leading NPL cleanups.


                     GAO recommends that the Administrator, EPA, direct the Office of Solid
Recommendation to    Waste and Emergency Response to work with state representatives to
the Administrator,   develop a detailed strategy indicating how the agency will meet the states’
EPA                  technical and resource needs so that they may take a lead role in
                     successfully cleaning up Superfund sites. Among the kinds of technical
                     support such a plan might include are (1) providing technical assistance at
                     specific sites; (2) identifying ways to accelerate research on innovative
                     technologies; and (3) serving as a national clearinghouse for information
                     on new cleanup technologies and other best practices. Among the
                     potential elements of its plan to help address the states’ resource



                     Page 46              GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
                  Chapter 3
                  States Will Need Technical and Financial
                  Support If They Are to Assume Greater
                  Superfund Responsibilities




                  constraints are strategies to (1) use federal funds efficiently to assist
                  state-led NPL cleanups, (2) continue leading certain NPL cleanups beyond
                  the capability of individual states, and (3) encourage cooperation by
                  recalcitrant PRPs with state authorities by serving as a backup regulatory
                  authority.


                  EPA officials generally agreed with our characterization of the states’
Agency Comments   reliance on EPA for technical and financial support and with our conclusion
                  that such support will continue to be integral to the states’ programs as
                  they accept more NPL cleanup responsibilities. The agency officials also
                  noted that our recommendation to develop a strategic plan for providing
                  the states with technical assistance was useful.

                  The officials also requested that we cite additional information about their
                  past efforts to provide the states with financial assistance. We added the
                  information requested, identifying in particular the aggregate amounts of
                  financial assistance provided to the 50 states through cooperative
                  agreements. The officials provided other technical clarifications and
                  suggestions, which we incorporated as appropriate.




                  Page 47              GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Appendix I

Agreement Between Washington’s
Department of Ecology and EPA’s Seattle
Office




              Page 48   GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Appendix I
Agreement Between Washington’s
Department of Ecology and EPA’s Seattle
Office




Page 49             GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Appendix II

Agreement Between Minnesota’s Pollution
Control Agency and EPA’s Chicago Office




              Page 50   GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Appendix II
Agreement Between Minnesota’s Pollution
Control Agency and EPA’s Chicago Office




Page 51             GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Appendix II
Agreement Between Minnesota’s Pollution
Control Agency and EPA’s Chicago Office




Page 52             GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Appendix II
Agreement Between Minnesota’s Pollution
Control Agency and EPA’s Chicago Office




Page 53             GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
Appendix III

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Steve Elstein, Assistant Director
Resources,              Eugene Wisnoski, Evaluator-in-Charge
Community, and          Susan Swearingen, Senior Evaluator
Economic
Development Division,
Washington, D.C.
                        Richard P. Johnson, Attorney
Office of General
Counsel,
Washington, D.C.
                        Mary D. Feeley, Evaluator
Chicago Regional
Office




(160337)                Page 54          GAO/RCED-97-77 Stronger EPA-State Relationship Improves Cleanups
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