In a May 22 memo, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Scott Pruitt created a task force to look at ways of streamlining the Superfund program. The task force, to be led by senior advisor Albert Kelly, shall include the heads of “the Office of Land and Emergency Management, the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, the Office of General Counsel, EPA Region 3 (as the lead region for the Superfund program) and other offices as appropriate.” The initiative’s goals are to expedite the cleanup process and reduce the burden on compliant parties. Within 30 days, the task force is charged with providing a detailed set of recommendations on actions that the agency can take to:

  • streamline and improve efficiencies within the program;
  • overhaul or streamline incentives for private investment at sites;
  • improve risk-management and consistency in remedy selection;
  • “Utilize alternative and non-traditional approaches for financing site cleanups, as well as improvements to the management and use of Superfund special accounts;” and
  • improve stakeholder relations and reduce administrative costs.

These wide-ranging objectives present a great opportunity for stakeholders to weigh in with EPA on how to improve the Superfund program. The tight deadline of just 30 days means interested stakeholders must act quickly if they want to be heard.