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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE URGES CONGRESS
TO APPROVE FUNDS FOR SUPERFUND CLEAN-UP
Up To 171 Clean Ups In Jeopardy
Washington, DC -- Urging Republicans to stop holding communitieshostage to polluters' demands, Vice President Gore today called on Congressto approve the money needed to clean up 171 Superfund sites and announcedthat the Administration is sending Congress a budget amendment to fullyrestore the funds.
Last year, Congress passed a $650 million cleanup fund increase inadvance for fiscal 1999 -- but only on the condition that a Superfundreauthorization bill be signed into law by May 15. Due to the loss ofthese funds, cleanup at up to 51 sites will be delayed, and cleanup at upto 120 Superfund sites will not begin, according to a list released todayby the Environmental Protection Agency.
"I am here today to serve notice: we will not allow the Republicans tosacrifice the public health to let a handful of polluters off the hook,"Vice President Gore said. "Today, our administration is sending Congressan amendment to restore every dime of the environmental clean-up funds thatRepublicans have held hostage."
"When it comes to cleaning up toxic waste, now is the time to clean upyour act," the Vice President added. "We will not allow yourspecial-interest loopholes. We need to strengthen our families andcommunities, not hold them back."
The Administration worked in good faith to meet the May 15 deadline,proposing reforms to strengthen the Superfund law, cut costly litigation,and make sure that those responsible for contamination clean it up.Instead, Congress wanted to weaken cleanup standards, compromise the"polluter pays" principle, and reopen litigation in cleanup cases that werealready settled.
Today's call for Superfund clean-up is an effort to meet PresidentClinton's pledge to clean-up two-thirds of the most serious sites thatthreaten our communities by 2001.
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have made tremendousprogress in revamping the Superfund program to speed up toxic wastecleanups. More than twice as many clean-ups were completed in the pastfive years as in the preceding 12.
The Administration has made cleaning up these Superfund sites a toppriority because many of these toxic waste sites pose serious health andenvironmental risks to surrounding communities. One in four Americans,including 10 million children below the age of 12, live within four milesof a Superfund site. In addition, contaminated, undeveloped land costscommunities jobs, tax revenue and economic growth.
President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore