News Releases from Region 07
Superfund Task Force Announces One-Year Anniversary Accomplishments and Plan for Year Two
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lenexa, Kan., July 24, 2018) - On the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Superfund Task Force Report, EPA is announcing significant progress in carrying out the report’s recommendations. The Agency also finalized its plans for completing all 42 recommendations by the end of 2019, which are outlined in a new “2018 Update” to the Superfund Task Force recommendations.
“The Superfund Task Force has resulted in tremendous progress at Superfund sites in the Heartland,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “From expediting a proposed remedy announcement for the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri, to deleting properties from the National Priorities List at the Omaha Lead Site, we continue to focus our efforts where we can have the greatest impact protecting human health and the environment.”
The Superfund Task Force was commissioned on May 22, 2017, to provide recommendations on how EPA could streamline and improve the Superfund program. One year ago, on July 25, 2017, EPA issued the Superfund Task Force Report, which included 42 recommendations in five goal areas:
- Expediting Cleanup and Remediation
- Reinvigorating Responsible Party Cleanup and Reuse
- Encouraging Private Investment
- Promoting Redevelopment and Community Revitalization
- Engaging Partners and Stakeholders
Highlights of EPA’s progress in carrying out the Task Force recommendations at the one-year anniversary include:
- Achieving Key Milestones at Sites on the Administrator’s Emphasis List. EPA released the initial Administrator’s Emphasis List (AEL) on Dec. 8, 2017, which included 21 National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund sites across the United States targeted for immediate and intense attention. Substantial progress has been made at AEL sites, and EPA will publish the list’s next update at the end of July 2018. Learn more.
- Moving More Sites Toward Deletion/Partial Deletion. Due to more direct attention to the sites potentially eligible for partial or full deletion from the NPL, the program achieved seven full site deletions and two partial deletions since EPA released the Task Force report. An additional 10 sites are proposed for partial or full deletion following public comment. Learn more.
- Improving Information on Human Exposure Status. EPA launched a Human Exposure Dashboard providing real-time human exposure status for all NPL sites on an easily accessible web page. In fiscal year 2017, the Agency designated an additional 24 sites as having human exposure to contamination under control for a total of 1,493 sites under control. Learn more.
- Promoting Redevelopment and Community Revitalization at Targeted Sites. After releasing a Redevelopment Focus List of 31 NPL sites with the greatest reuse potential, EPA has responded to over 120 redevelopment-related, prospective purchaser inquiries and created a new informational mapping tool that provides site-specific details on each of the 31 sites. Two noteworthy examples of EPA’s redevelopment efforts are the Libby Asbestos Site in Libby, Montana, and the Peoples National Gas Site in Dubuque, Iowa. Learn more.
- Developing Tools and a Process to Encourage Third-Party Investment. EPA created a national team of redevelopment experts, led by EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), to help address liability concerns of third-party entities and developers. EPA and DOJ issued a new policy that encourages more frequent consideration of Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Agreements and Prospective Purchaser Agreements, when appropriate, to foster cleanup and reuse of NPL sites.
- Engaging with Partners and Stakeholders. EPA held or participated in more than 1,370 public meetings and 3,190 in-person meetings or interviews with community members living near Superfund sites. Senior EPA leaders also met on a regular basis with environmental justice groups, as well as other federal agencies and a variety of state and tribal organizations, to obtain their ongoing input on Task Force work. The Agency also conducted online “listening sessions” open to the public to obtain feedback on implementing many of the enforcement-related recommendations.
As outlined in the “2018 Update,” the Agency plans to complete implementation of the Superfund Task Force recommendations by September 2019, and will have fully integrated that work into EPA’s Superfund program. These achievements will provide certainty to communities, state partners, and developers that the nation’s most hazardous sites will be cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible.
Over the next year, EPA will:
- Continue to expedite cleanups and move sites towards deletion. These efforts will place a greater emphasis on the internal tracking of site progress using visual management tools to evaluate where each site is in the Superfund process, how long it has been there, and the reasons for any delays.
- Use adaptive management on a more structured and broader scale and formally implement adaptive management principles at select pilot sites by the end of calendar year 2018.
- Collaborate with our state and tribal partners through the Environmental Council of States, Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials, and Tribal Waste and Response Steering Committee to complete a thorough evaluation of groundwater beneficial use policies with a focus on beneficial use determinations.
- Continue to reinvigorate responsible party cleanup and reuse by using best practices and modifying model enforcement language to reduce responsible party cleanup negotiation time frames and shorten potentially responsible party (PRP) lead cleanups.
- Encourage private investment in the cleanup and reuse of contaminated sites by finalizing guidance and developing new model work agreements and comfort letters to create certainty and assist third parties in identifying investment opportunities at Superfund sites.
- Implement the Superfund Remedial Acquisition Framework to reduce cleanup costs, foster innovation, and increase efficiency.
- Continue to focus on stakeholder and partner engagement during all Superfund cleanup process phases, including improving risk communication at Superfund sites with long-term stewardship requirements.
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