New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 10, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas
#A New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung Sunday, March 10,1985Report—Toxic waste cleanup to take 50 years
WASHINGTON (AP) - Cleaning up the nation's abandoned toxic waste dumps is likely to take 50 years and cost $100 billion, far more than any previous estimates, according to a new report to Congress.
The estimates are so large that the report from the Office of Technology Assessment sn’rT the “Superfund” cleanup program in the Environmental Protection Agency ought not even to try to make permanent cleanups at about 90 percent of the sites on its priority list.
Instead, said the technology report, for about the next 15 years the agency should concentrate on making sure those sites do not get worse while it builds technical expertise, explores new technologies and gathers environmental and health data.
It was the second assessment in less than a week that EPA had vastly underestimated the cleanup task. On Thursday, the General Accounting Office said Superfund might have to spend more than $39 billion.
EPA has estimated that there might be as many as 22,000 sites, of which 2,200 might wind up on the priority list. The list that now contains 786 designated or proposed sites.
Cleaning up those 2,200 probably will take $11 billion and perhaps twice that sum if all the unknowns turn out unfavorably, the agency says. Only six sites have been declared clean so far, but EPA says long-term cleanups are under way at more than 300.
The technology report estimated the number of possible priority sites, using EPA’s criteria, at about 10,000. The General Accounting Office estimates ranged up to 378,000, using different criteria.
William N. Hedeman Jr., director of EPA’s Superfund office, said he did not know the basis of OTA’s estimate of 10,000 Superfund sites, but believed it included many less critical sites that Superfund was not designed to deal with.
To avoid moving hazardous materials from one location in the ground to another the agency has begun storing some waste above ground, to be dealt with by other means later, he said.
‘‘The thrust of the OTA report is that there may be better moustraps available in 20 years. I hope there are. But we’ve got to deal with the problem now ... and not by putting Band-aids on it,” Hedeman said.
EPA is proposing to spend $5.3
billion on Superfund in the next five years, triple the sum devoted to the program in the five years ending in September. It has resisted proposals for faster spending on the grounds that it could not effectively manage the pace. The Senate Environment Committee has approved a $7.5 billion renewal, and the House last year passed a $10 billion renewal that the Senate refused to take up.
Chairman scoffs crackdown attempt on defense contractors
WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Jack Brooks, D-Texas, the cigar-chomping chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, has a few choice words for Pentagon crackdowns on defense contractors: “Paperwork,
hogwash and cosmetics.”
“There’s no real attempt to solve the problem,” says Brooks. “That’s the pattern.”
But Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, already embroiled in a fight with Congress over proposed increases in the Pentagon’s budget and money for the MX intercontinental missile, said last week that he means business.
Weinberger announced he is cutting off $40 million of $700 million in monthly payments to General Dynamics, the nation’s largest defense contractor, while the Pentagon opens a new investigation into allegedly improper billings by the company for . costs seemingly unrelated to the production of F-16 fighters and Trident submarines. These include a bill for boarding a company executive’s pet dog.
In the future all contractors “will be required to certify, under penalty of perjury, that their claims do not include any expenses for political, entertainment or other expenses not made directly for the benefit of the government and required for the performance of the contract involved,” Weinberger said.
“They are always wanting to do better,” Brooks said last week.“And they send the problem to a committee of senior officials, and they don’t do a damn thing.”
Chairman Brooks directed those general remarks to another problem related to defense contractors: testimony that $22 billion in government supplied material and equipment is open to loss, theft and mismanagement because neither the Pentagon nor the contractors has kept track of it.
The defense secretary’s action coincided with a flurry of reports regarding the billing practices of other defense giants.
The Boeing Co. confirmed it had billed the Pentagon for $126,000 in political contributions to state candidates in 1982.
Boeing officials at first said that while government rules disallow payment for contributions, “gray areas” exist that might eventually result in at least partial reimbursement.
Later, Boeing said it had “made a mistake” and said it was withdrawing claims for $61,075 in direct political contributions to individual candidates.
It said it seeks payment for another $65,000 in contributions to Republican and Democratic party committees, mostly in the state of Washington.
Mubarak arrives for peace talks
WASHINGTON (AP) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived in Washington Saturday for five days of meetings on topics ranging from the latest Middle East peace initiative to an expected request for $870 million in extra aid.
Secretary of State George Shultz greeted Mubarak on the grounds of the Washington Monument, where the two posed briefly for photographers before being whisked away in waiting limousines.
When official talks begin Monday, Murbarak is expected to ask the United States to soften its position in dealing with the Palestine Liberation Organization and press Israel, which refuses to meet with the guerrilla group, to enter negotiations.
Mubarak is scheduled to meet with Shultz, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and members of Congress on Monday. He plans to meet President Reagan at the White House Tuesday and return to Egypt
the following day.
In addition, Mubarak reportedly will use the visit to press for an additional $870 million in U.S. aid. The money would be on top of the $1 billion already earmarked for Egypt this year.
At present Egypt is $285 million behind in repaying loans to buy U.S. arms — a situation the Reagan administration says could lead to a total aid cutoff in four to five months.
Iran, Iraq bomb their cities
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Iran and Iraq struck at each other’s cities from the air and ground Saturday, and both said they caused heavy casualties and damage on the sixth day of new border combat. Iraq claimed it downed an Iranian jet.
Iran said its air force bombed three Iraqi towns and that all its planes returned safely. It would mark the first appearance in force of Iranian planes in months. Iran’s air fleet suffered serious losses in earlier stages of the 54-month-old Iran-Iraq war, and lacks spare parts.
There was no immediate confirmation of Iranian air attacks from the Iraqi side. Western reporters normally are not allowed into the war zone.
Iran said its air strikes were in retaliation for overnight Iraqi missile attacks on the Dezful in the southern Iranian oil province of Khuzistan, and Khorramabad in west Iran. IRNA saideight missiles hit Dezful, killing at least 19 people and wounding 80. It said four rockets slammed into Khorramabad early
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Saturday, killing 110 people and wounding more than 500.
Iraq did not confirm the attacks.
A communique carried by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency, monitored in Nicosia, said IO Iranian jet fighters bombed an oil refinery and an army camp at Khanaqin, about 80 miles northeast of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on the Iran-Iraq border.
The communique said the jets scored “decisive hits” in an early morning strike, setting sections of the refinery on fire and inflicting heavy losses on Iraqi troops in the camp.
It also said fighter-bombers attacked “important installations" in
the twin garrison towns of Ail al-Gharbi and Ah al-Sharqi on the banks of the Euphrates River southeast of Baghdad.Losses in the towns “were said to be heavy,’’ according to the official statement.
An Iraqi military communique broadcast on Baghdad Radio said Iranian jets had attempted raids in Waset and Misan provinces, where AU al-Gharb and Ah al-Sharqi are located. But it said Iraqi air defenses chased the planes away.
Iran threatened its forces would attack all Iraqi cities except the four holy cities of Najaf, Karbala, Kazemieh and Sainerra, which abound with shrines sacred to both the Iranian and Iraqi Shiite Moslems.
Victor M. Campos
NORRIS INSURANCE AGENCY
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