New Delegation Centralizes Largest Superfund Cleanup Decisions

In a move designed to streamline approvals of and ensure consistency among the largest Superfund cleanups, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last week approved a new delegation of authority giving him and his yet-to-be-named deputy the final signature authority to approve large Superfund cleanups over $50 million. Prior to the revision, approval authority rested with EPA's 10 regional administrators and the assistant administrator of the Office of Land and Emergency Management.

Some are hailing the change as a necessary improvement in a cumbersome Superfund process that often slows cleanup of the nation’s most complicated and contaminated sites; however, those familiar with the workings of EPA may recognize that the change may produce a logjam in the administrator's office, as scientifically and legally complicated decisions and documents are routed to a single person for signature.

Potentially responsible parties, citizens, and other stakeholders will now be required to navigate the bureaucracy of EPA's Washington, D.C. headquarters.