GAO Finds EPA Superfund Reforms Super Failure

A report released by the General\r\nAccounting Office shows that nearly three-fourths of the\r\nSuperfund reforms implemented by EPA are "ineffective and\r\nunmeasurable."

Rep. Tom Bliley, R-Va., recently released a report by the General Accounting Office (GAO) that shows that nearly three-fourths of the Superfund reforms implemented by EPA are ineffective and unmeasurable.

EPA has claimed that the Superfund program has improved, however, the GAO report said that for a majoriety of the 62 reofrms, it is difficult for the agency "to demonstrate the extent to which they are working."

"This is a super failure by the Clinton-Gore Administration," said Bliley. "It is shocking that 42 out of 62 administrative reforms by EPA were ineffective and could not be measured."

Bliley sked the GAO to conduct an indepth evaluation of the Superfund Administration reforms.

According to EPA reform managers, all 62 reforms are important and have helped to improve the program, but 42 of them involve activities that did not have a fundamental impact on the program and could not easilty be measured for any results achieved, GAO found.

GAO reviewed EPA''s performance measure for each reform and found that the agency had more measures in place since its last review, and for a small number of reforms, the measures demonstrate results such as cost savings.

However, GAO found that "EPA cannot directly link the majority of its reforms to improvements in the program."

"The GAO report illustrates that administrative reforms have been tried and are not doing the job," said Bliley. "The only way Superfund sites are going to get cleaned up faster and more efficiently is by Congress changing the law."

In its report, GAO suggested that "better measuement and oversight of the key reforms, as well as better understanding of the reasons for regional variation in the implementation of the program, could help EPA bet the maximium benefits from the reform initiative."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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