President Donald Trump has proposed budget cuts that could slow or even stop work at CERCLA Superfund sites throughout the country. Waste officials estimate that the proposed cuts, which would cut the Superfund program’s budget by about 30%, would eliminate an average of four full-time employees from each state and would stop work on nine Superfund sites per state.
The impact on specific sites depends largely on the ability of individual states to use resources to continue remediation work. For example, Sue Boyle, head of the New Jersey Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Association, said the cuts may have a relatively small effect on New Jersey due to the state’s own robust Superfund program. Sites where potentially responsible parties have not yet been identified or located will be most affected by the proposed cuts; sites where a plan is in place for companies to pay for cleanup will be minimally affected.
Additionally, future Superfund cleanups nationwide may be further delayed due to a revised delegation of authority issued by the Administrator of the EPA, E. Scott Pruitt, on May 9, 2017. According to these revisions, all Record of Decision remedies estimated to cost $50 million or more must be approved by the Administrator or Deputy Administrator (if so delegated by the Administrator). Previously, such remedies could be approved by Regional Administrators or the Assistant Administrator for Office of Land and Emergency Management.