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.