2018 saw many changes at EPA, including the departures of EPA Administrator Pruitt and his chief lieutenant responsible for Superfund reform and the Superfund Task Force, Albert “Kell” Kelly. Nonetheless, the Superfund Task Force continued its work under the leadership of Deputy Assistant Administrator Steven Cook. After a series of EPA sponsored “listening sessions” in 2017 and 2018, on July 23, 2018, EPA issued the “2018 Update” to the Superfund Task Force Recommendations, approximately one year after the initial publication of the Task Force Recommendations.

Since his appointment, Deputy Assistant Administrator Cook has been meeting with stakeholders around the country to discuss the Superfund Task Force Recommendations, solicit input and plan next steps. At one of these meetings, Cook indicated that the Task Force would be wrapping up its work this summer as EPA turns its focus to implementation of the Task Force Recommendations. Acting Administrator Wheeler’s forward to the 2018 Update to the Superfund Task Force Recommendations notes that “a key responsibility of [EPA] is cleaning up and revitalizing contaminated land and returning it to use so that communities can utilize and enjoy it. … The recommendations in the Superfund Task Force Report address barriers that delay cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites.”

In 2019, EPA will continue to focus attention on the Superfund process and we can expect EPA to use the Superfund Task Force Recommendations as a blueprint for expediting cleanups and to encourage redevelopment of formerly contaminated sites.