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EPA Eyes Reward for Good Behavior at Superfund Cleanups

Sept. 12, 2019, 11:31 PM

Cleaning up the nation’s most contaminated sites remains a priority for the Environmental Protection Agency, and a system that rewards companies’ cooperation may be part of the picture, a senior agency official said.

“Exactly what those incentives are, we don’t know yet,” Steven Cook, a deputy assistant administrator the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management, said at an American Bar Association conference in Boston Sept. 12.

Kathleen Campbell, a partner at Manko Gold Katcher Fox LLP in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., who spoke on a panel with Cook, said she supports an approach in which the EPA would reduce oversight of a particular Superfund site in exchange for audits of the cleanup and unannounced EPA visits.

Massachusetts has had a “hands off” system where polluters hire experts licensed by the state to manage the cleanup.

“We’re not going to go down that road,” Cook said. Such a system wouldn’t be appropriate for the federal sites, which are some of the most complicated and polluted in the country, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adrianne Appel in Boston at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at; Kathy Larsen at; Anna Yukhananov at