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Superfund Expenditures and Cleanup Priorities: Distributive Politics or the Public Interest?

John A. Hird
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
Vol. 9, No. 4 (Autumn, 1990), pp. 455-483
DOI: 10.2307/3325258
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3325258
Page Count: 29
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Superfund Expenditures and Cleanup Priorities: Distributive Politics or the Public Interest?
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Abstract

Using data on all final National Priorities List (NPL) sites, this study employs an integrated model of distributive and public interest politics to determine whether the overall pace of cleanup efforts and funding of the $8.5 billion Superfund program over the past eight years reflects self-interested congressional influence or public interest objectives. Despite the fact that both EPA and Congress have substantial incentives to promote the Superfund program, the results indicate that once a site is on the final NPL, there is little committee-based congressional influence over the distribution of site cleanup or funding, although evidence exists that legislators can hasten a site's transition from proposed to final status on the NPL. The chief determinants of cleanup pace and level of funding are the site's Hazard Ranking System (HRS) scores, whether federal funds are financing the cleanup, and whether the site is designated as a state priority.

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