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PENNSYLVANIA LEADS SUIT OVER DEVELOPMENT OF HAZARDOUS WASTE REGS

PENNSYLVANIA LEADS SUIT OVER DEVELOPMENT OF HAZARDOUS WASTE REGS
 HARRISBURG, Pa., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania and eight other states have filed documents in federal court charging that numerous federal Superfund regulations are unlawful because the White House Office of Management and Budget illegally interfered with their development by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
 The action is part of an appeal filed in May 1990 with the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia. Most of the issues under appeal involve hazardous waste site cleanup standards and the states' role in cleanup decisions.
 Other states joining Pennsylvania in the appeal are: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Ohio.
 "Shortly after our appeal was filed in 1990, we learned for the first time that some of the provisions of the regulations that we thought diverged most dramatically from the law were changes demanded by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) -- long after the close of the public comment period on the EPA regulations," said Pennsylvania Secretary of Environmental Resources Arthur A. Davis.
 Davis noted that when EPA sent its original Superfund regulations to OMB for review in late 1989, it did not have many of the unlawful provisions that later appeared in the regulations when they were issued in March 1990.
 "Papers filed in court yesterday demonstrate that OMB forced EPA to make changes that weakened the minimum human health and environmental protection requirements specified by Congress in passing 1986 amendments to the Superfund program," Davis said.
 Davis said the unlawful changes demanded by OMB included provisions to allow the use of fences and deed restrictions rather than requiring polluters to actually clean up contaminated sites.
 OMB also forced EPA to weaken regulations concerning the extent to which contaminated groundwater had to be cleaned up by responsible parties and the level of human health risk from cancer-causing substances to be allowed at Superfund sites, Davis said.
 "Not only did OMB force EPA to make these unlawful changes, but OMB's role in the regulations was hidden from public scrutiny," Davis said. "Our latest legal action demonstrates that the real basis for the final regulations was OMB's concern about costs rather than the explanations available to the public in the administrative record."
 Davis said Pennsylvania and the other states have asked the court to find that the real basis for the regulations was OMB's view of what it would allow rather than the publicly available explanations given for the regulations that appeared when they were promulgated.
 Davis said federal law requires that the Superfund program clean up hazardous waste sites so that they may be used by future generations. The OMB changes to the regulations allow EPA to keep people away from the sites rather than cleaning up the pollution.
 "In Pennsylvania, we want cleanup, not fences," Davis said. "Therefore, we've asked the court to recognize OMB's role in the regulations and to strike down portions of the final regulations."
 /delval/
 -0- 3/10/92
 /CONTACT: Pam DiSalvo of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, 717-787-1323/ CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Office of Management and
 Budget ST: Pennsylvania, District of Columbia IN: SU: LEG


LJ -- PH014 -- 6890 03/10/92 12:28 EST
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Date:Mar 10, 1992
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