December 18, 2018

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Public Input on Superfund Task Force Recommendations – EPA Is Really Listening!

U.S. EPA OECA’s Office of Site Remediation Enforcement (OSRE) is putting on a series of webinar/listening sessions in late May and June addressing specific recommendations found in the July 25, 2017 Administrator’s Superfund Task Force Recommendations  (SFTF Recommendations). The goal of the SFTF Recommendations is to improve and expedite site cleanups, promoting redevelopment.  The webinar/listening sessions are tailored to individual SFTF Recommendations and will focus on specific questions and topics related to the SFTF Recommendation being considered identified by U.S. EPA.

The first session took place on May 21st and covered negotiating superfund cleanup agreements (Recommendation 16.2, Part 1).  I sat in on this session and was pleasantly surprised at how well organized and informative it was – and perhaps most importantly, how the moderator, Ken Patterson, director of OSRE’s Regional Support Division, went out of his way to assure that all those who had signed up in advance to comment had their opportunity to speak. Afterwards, the agency promptly posted a recording of the session for those who could not attend live and, at the end of the session (the 54:34 minute mark), posted a set of the presentation slides for the participants and the public to download.

The other planned listening sessions (with the next two sessions scheduled on June 5) are listed on U.S. EPA’s Listening Sessions – Superfund Task Force Recommendations webpage and will include:

Exploring CERCLA Environmental Liability Transfer Approaches (SFTF Recommendation 22)
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at Noon – 2 pm Eastern

New Tools to Support Private Party Investment in Cleaning Up and Reusing Superfund Sites (SFTF Recommendation 27)
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 3 – 5 pm Eastern

Encouraging Potentially Responsible Parties to Implement Reuse (SFTF Recommendation 21)
Monday, June 11, 2018 at Noon – 2 pm Eastern

Revising EPA’s “Common Elements” Guidance to Encourage Third Party Investment (SFTF Recommendation 29)
Monday, June 11, 2018 at 3 – 5 pm Eastern

Informing Parties about Streamlining the Cleanup and Redevelopment Process (SFTF Recommendation 23)
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at Noon – 2 pm Eastern

Improving Comfort Letters to Address Superfund Liability Concern (SFTF Recommendation 28)
Monday, June 18, 2018 at Noon – 2 pm Eastern.

Improving Implementation of Cleanup Agreements for Response Actions by Potentially Responsible Parties (Recommendation 16-2, Part 2)
Monday, June 18, 2018 at 3 – 5 pm Eastern.

Registration for these listening sessions will open soon and will be listed on the Superfund Task Force website along with information on how to provide verbal and written comments. 

U.S. EPA also maintains a website that summarizes additional opportunities for public participation related to engaging stakeholders and partners in the Superfund program.  This site currently includes information on remediation methodologies and other webinars hosted by the Superfund Task Force as a result of SFTF Recommendation 9, and a recap of some of the redevelopment efforts that have been undertaken pursuant to the Task Force Recommendations.



About this Author

Bruce White, Barnes Thornburg law firm, Chicago, Environmental, Intellectual Property and Litigation Law Attorney

Mr. White has more than 30 years of experience in litigation, arbitration and mediation of environmental disputes, and in administrative permitting and enforcement proceedings throughout the country. His experience includes representation of industrial, commercial, and governmental clients in matters involving Superfund, RCRA/HSWA, TSCA, CWA, CAA, NEPA, Federal and State regulations, toxic torts, and insurance coverage for environmental claims.

The bulk of Mr. White’s practice is spent on the litigation and negotiation of settlements of environmental issues in various contexts,...