Numbers Down on Superfund Cleanups

Washington –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that 42 Superfund cleanups -– out of 1,238 of the nation’s worst contaminated areas –- have been completed this year. The number of sites cleaned up is down from 47 last year and also is lower than the average 76 completed per year during the Clinton Administration. Some environmentalists and Democrats in Congress see the decrease in cleanups as the result of President Bush’s political loyalties to polluters. But EPA officials say this year's decline is based on complexity. Jobs that are not complicated get higher priority, they say. More detailed cleanups, such as those with large groundwater pollution, are saved for last.