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In August 1995, EPA established a National Risk-Based Priority Panel of program experts to evaluate the risk at National Priorities List sites with respect to human health and the environment. The Agency uses these evaluations to establish funding priorities for all new cleanup construction projects in the Superfund program. This national approach is intended as a way for each Region to list its priority projects and rank these projects against priority projects from other Regions, ensuring that scarce resources are allocated to the projects posing the most risk to human health and the environment.

This system allows for an evaluation of projects based on the following principles:

  • Protection of human health;
  • Protection from significant environmental threats; and
  • Potential human health or environmental threats based upon current site conditions.

Five criteria and associated weighting factors are used to compare projects based on common criteria. These include risks to human population exposed, contaminant stability, contaminant characteristics, threat to a significant environment, and program management considerations.

The National Risk-Based Priority Panel is comprised of national program experts from Regional offices and Headquarters. The panel met for the first time in 1995 to finalize the protocol for ranking projects on a national level and to begin voting on projects that were ready for funding during Fiscal Year 1996. The panel continues to meet during the course of the year as needed to prioritize new projects.

January 19, 1996 memo "Remedial Action Priority Setting" (PDF 1.4M, 10 pages) About PDF

Note that while this memo established the panel and procedures, there have been minor adjustments through the years.

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