Defense Date

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Peter deFur

Abstract

The present research examines the impact of not reauthorizing the Superfund taxes on the operations of the program. EPA NPL site status data were obtained from the EPA CERCLIS database for analysis in this study. Data were selected for the fiscal years 1981 to 2009 in four NPL listing status categories: proposal to the NPL, final NPL listing, deletion from the NPL, and achievement of construction completion. Since the Superfund tax expired in 1995, data from the 1981 to 1995 fiscal years and data from the 1996 to 2009 fiscal years were analyzed to determine if there were mean differences in NPL status achievements for those time frames potentially caused by lack of funding. The data in the fifth category (partial NPL deletion) were not analyzed because the EPA did not begin tracking this category as a program goal until 1997. EPA uses the status of sites in these categories to track achievement of program goals and effectiveness. The null hypothesis for this study is that there is no difference between program outcomes (NPL site status data reported by fiscal year) for the time period from 1981 to 1995 and 1996 to 2009 meaning that the failure to re-authorize the Superfund tax has not affected the clean-up of contaminated sites and how they are managed. The alternative hypothesis is that failure to re-authorize the Superfund tax has affected the clean-up of contaminated sites and how they are managed. In support of the alternative hypothesis, there were mean differences (for time frames 1981 to 1995 and 1996 to 2009) for NPL site status achievements for the following milestones: final listing on the NPL, deletion from the NPL, and achieving construction completion status on the NPL. These results suggest that variations in funding may have some impact on NPL status achievements. Annual funding trends from program inception to 2010, achievement of Superfund program goals for the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years, and the impact of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding on the program were also examined. Although program goals were generally met or exceeded, limited funds will continue to impact the cleanup of existing and future Superfund sites.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2011

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