- House bill Would Shift Costs to Taxpayers, Schiffer
- Daily Environment Report, August 30, 1999,
In a Special Report in the Daily Environment Report, Assistant
Attorney General Lois Schiffer, head of the Department of Justice's Environment and
Natural Resources Division, says that the bi-partisan House bill (H.R. 1300) would shift
the costs of Superfund cleanup from environmental polluters to the taxpayer and increase
litigation. The Assistant Attorney General contends that rather than lead to a decrease in
litigation, a number of provisions in the House bill would result in an "explosion of
"This means that we will be moving away from the
settlement-driven system that we have established now," said Ms. Schiffer, "to
one in which parties have a clear incentive to litigate and litigate. Plus, under H.R.
1300, those costs that don't get allocated would be shifted onto the taxpayers."
Ms. Schiffer goes on to add, in an interview with the Bureau of
National Affair's Daily Environment Report, that "If this bill passes, the taxpayers
are going to end up bearing a much larger share of the costs of the program. This flies in
the face of one of the basic principles of the superfund program, which is that it's the
polluter who is supposed to pay for cleanup of contaminated sites."
She also feels that the rate of cleanups of hazardous sites would
be greatly slowed. "In short, H.R. 1300 is counterproductive, in terms of reducing
the role of lawyers, getting agreements among polluters rather than litigating, getting
polluters to pay for cleanups in a fair fashion, and getting on with the business of
actually cleaning up sites on the National Priorities List."