In an effort to restore Superfund cleanup to the center of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) core mission, Administrator Scott Pruitt is prioritizing Superfund cleanup and streamlining the approval process for sites with remedies estimated to cost $50 million or more. The revision to EPA’s delegation of authority will ensure decision making comes straight from the administrator. EPA’s Superfund program is responsible for the cleanup of some of the nation’s most contaminated areas.
“I am making it a priority to ensure contaminated sites get cleaned up,” said Pruitt. “We will be more hands-on to ensure proper oversight and attention to the Superfund program at the highest levels of the Agency, and to create consistency across states.”
The EPA administrator has always had the authority to sign-off on Superfund remediation efforts. Until recently, however, this authority had been delegated many layers into the bureaucracy, resulting in confusion among stakeholders and delayed revitalization efforts. Putting the decision of how to clean up the sites directly into the hands of the administrator will help revitalize contaminated sites faster.
An interagency memo explains: “It is through this enhanced cooperation and continuous involvement that we will work to revitalize this essential Agency effort while enhancing consistency in remedy selection across States and the Regions.”
Pruitt has prioritized Superfund cleanup as part of his effort to refocus EPA on its intended mission. Last month he visited the USS Lead Superfund Site in East Chicago, IN to view ongoing cleanup activities. Pruitt met with East Chicago residents, federal, state and local officials, and pledged improved coordination and communication as cleanup continues. He was the first EPA administrator to visit this Superfund site, which was listed on the National Priorities List of the worst contaminated sites in the country in 2009.
The revised delegation is effective immediately.