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NETF BACKS TREASURY DEPARTMENT PROPOSAL AS BASIS FOR SUPERFUND REFORM

 WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Environmental Trust Fund Project (NETF) today called on the Clinton administration to support a U.S. Department of Treasury proposal for Superfund Reform.
 The proposal, submitted to an interagency task force that is developing the Clinton administration's Superfund reform package, would eliminate retroactive, site-specific liability for waste disposal prior to 1980 or some other "appropriate date." It would also eliminate joint and several liability prospectively, and recommends a proportional liability system for future waste disposal. Assessing proportional liability is difficult for old waste sites because record keeping was often poor or non-existent.
 Over 300 supporters of the NETF, including representatives of local governments, small businesses and Fortune 500 countries, recently sent a joint letter to the president which endorsed the Treasury Department's reform approach. The group wrote, "Repeal of retroactive, site-specific liability for old waste disposal is the only reform option which meets the needs of thousands of large and small businesses, local governments, schools, insurers, individuals and others trapped by Superfund liability."
 Under Superfund's present liability system, a large percentage of the money spent does not go to cleanup, but to legal fees and other transaction costs. The NETF's supporters believe that it is in the national interest to implement a funding system that ensures every dollar taken out of the economy for Superfund goes directly into improving the process. The elimination of retroactive liability is the key to making Superfund a more efficient and cost-effective program. The group's letter stated that, "Only retroactive, site-specific liability reform will substantially reduce the transaction costs and legal fees which plague the program, as well as speed cleanup and provide an effective way to fund the process."
 Many members of the business community are prepared to accept higher Superfund taxes in exchange for relief from retroactive, site-specific liability for old waste disposal. The letter stated, "We are not advocating an increase in general taxes, but an expansion of the existing Superfund business taxes." The expanded trust fund would raise the money on a more rational, predictable basis, and would "allow the program to fulfill its mission of protecting human health and the environment."
 In commending the Treasury Department for its leadership, the NETF joins a broad constituency which supports replacement of retroactive Superfund liability, including municipal leaders such as the Local Governments for Superfund Reform (LGSR) and small businesses representatives such as the American Furniture Manufacturers Association, International Fabricare Institute, National Automobile Dealers Association, National Food Processors Association and Printing Industries of America.
 NETF supporters believe that fundamental change is needed in the Superfund program to address the concerns of all stakeholders and allow the program to fulfill its mission of protecting human health and the environment. The group's letter to the president stated that, "We believe the Treasury Department proposal is an excellent starting point for Superfund reform, and urge you to actively promote this important proposal."
 The NETF is supported by more than 1,700 small and large businesses, local governments and individuals, and was formed by the American International Group, Inc., Fireman's Fund Insurance Companies, The Continental Insurance Company and Crum & Forster Insurance Companies
 -0- 10/12/93
 /CONTACT: Kathy Cowan for the National Environmental Trust Fund Project, 202-638-5942/


CO: The National Environmental Trust Fund Project; U.S. Department of
 Treasury ST: District of Columbia IN: ENV SU: EXE


DT-DC -- DC016 -- 1211 10/12/93 15:01 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 12, 1993
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