2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 5 Sep 2003 15:34:35 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] EPA ruling questioned
EPA ruling questioned
By Roger Witherspoon
September 3, 2003

State and environmental officials are trying to assess the impact of a
new federal regulation eliminating a 25-year ban on the sale of land
contaminated with PCBs.

The ban was imposed by Congress as part of the Toxic Substance Control
Act to prevent people from being unwittingly poisoned by polychlorinated
biphenyls, or PCBs, if a contaminated site was redeveloped without being
completely cleansed of the probable carcinogens.

But the Environmental Protection Agency quietly reinterpreted the law
last month, USA Today reported yesterday. By reinterpreting the reach of
an existing law, rather than proposing a new regulation, the EPA avoided
having to notify the public of the sudden policy reversal.

EPA officials defended the change yesterday, saying it was a technical
adjustment with no significant impact on health and safety.
Environmentalists, however, said the agency's decision appeared to be an
effort to appease developers.

"The intent is to prevent the spread of PCB contamination," EPA
spokeswoman Mary Mears said. "It is our opinion that transferring
property has nothing to do with spreading PCB contamination. It is
immaterial to the responsibilities the parties have to clean up the
land, no matter who owns the property."

The change in the rule, Mears said, will release properties currently
off-limits to developers.

"We believe this will not cause any increase in the spread of PCB
contamination," Mears said, "and it may well be good for the
environment. There have been land transfers where the new owner is
willing to do a cleanup as a condition of redeveloping it. In some
instances, this change may encourage cleaning up the land."

This article can be viewed at:

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