Environmentally Acceptable Endpoints
The following question has baffled many in making environmental decisions: How clean is clean? Decision-makers engaged in answering this question ranged from the White House to the State House to the school house—with Congress in between—and was especially an issue during the reauthorization of Superfund, the Clean Air Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In the process of answering this question, another question is raised: What will it cost? In other words, how many hundreds of billions of dollars must this nation spend to meet the requirements of these acts? This, in turn, brings about a third question: What government or societal programs will suffer if we spend these huge amounts of money on environmental cleanup? Originally, most of these costs were borne by industry. With the requirement that federal facilities meet the same requirements, billions and billions of dollars of costs are now allocated to the taxpayer. The Department of Energy (DOE) alone had a $6.6 billion dollar remediation budget for 1996. They are forecasting that remediation of their sites will take 30 to 75 years. In times of limited budgets, do these funds come from Social Security, Medicare, education, crime control, or defense? If not, where do the funds come from, when many feel that the citizenry is already overtaxed?
KeywordsRisk Assessment Soil Removal Reform Bill Federal Facility Acceptable Endpoint
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