1998 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 21 Sep 1998 08:47:18
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: California Cleanup Program Threatened

The failure of the California legislature to renew state Superfund
legislation this session may have more serious consequences than I
originally thought. Ambushed by last minute industry opposition to a
negotiated compromise bill, the program is due to expire in January. The
new legislature and governor - according to the polls, that is most
likely to be Democrat Gray Davis - may indeed enact a new law, but
unless it is passed early in the new year as "urgency" legislation with
a required 2/3 votes, the renewed program will not take effect for some

Hazardous waste sites - including military bases and other federal
facilities - now regulated by the Department of Toxic Substances Control
(DTSC) under the Site Mitigation Program must end up someplace else.
Reportedly, lame-duck Republican Governor Pete Wilson is trying to shift
the sites to the jurisdiction of the state and regional Water Boards,
under the Porter-Cologne Act, instead of the more logical Corrective
Action program at DTSC.

The water board staffs include many dedicated regulators, but the
Governor's unpublicized move would destroy one of the country's most
professional environmental regulatory bureaucracies. It would create
chaos even if all sites eventually land under active regulation by the
water boards. It would diminish public participation - not part of the
Porter-Cologne Act. And it would leave unregulated many contamination
issues not covered by the groundwater-oriented Act and boards.

Wilson reportedly sees dismantling the regulatory bureaucracy as a
legacy he wants to leave to history, but he hasn't sought recognition by
publicizing it today. Unless the news media, legislature, and activists
respond, years of program development will be destroyed in just a few
weeks. The cost to public health and the environment could be enormous.

Lenny Siegel


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126
Effective August, 1998, CPEO has adopted its own Internet domain,
<cpeo.org>. All of our old E-mail addresses, such as
<lsiegel@igc.apc.org> should continue to work.

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