*. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency	08-p-oi96
I bdaB \	Hffirp nf Insnprtnr ^pnpral	July 9, 2008
	UiOi d IVII Ul 111ICII Id I i I U Ids II
  - \ Office of Inspector General
At a Glance

Why We Did This Review
In February 2006, the Office of
Inspector General recommended
that the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) timely
review Superfund special accounts
to ensure funds are used consistent
with its guidance. We followed up
on EPA's progress in implementing
this recommendation by evaluating
EPA's use of special accounts that
had high available balances or were
at least 10 years old. The special
accounts for the Stringfellow
Superfund site have a high
available balance of $117.8 million.
Section 122(b)(3) of the
Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act (CERCLA)
authorizes EPA to retain and use
funds received in settlements to
address CERCLA response actions
contemplated in the settlement
agreements. EPA retains these
funds in site-specific accounts,
called "special accounts," which
are sub accounts within the EPA
Hazardous Substance Superfund
Trust Fund (Trust Fund).
For further information,
contact our Office of Congressional
and Public Liaison at (202) 566-2391
To view the full report,
click on the following link:
Catalyst for Improving the Environment
Making Better Use of Stringfellow
Superfund Special Accounts
What We Found
By Fiscal Year 2010, EPA Region 9 could reclassify, or transfer to the Trust
Fund, up to $47.8 million in special account funds for the Stringfellow
Superfund site, located near Glen Avon, California. Reclassifying or
transferring is consistent with EPA guidance and would potentially allow
$47.8 million to be available for better use in Region 9's Superfund program
or elsewhere in the Nation.
In response to our draft report, Region 9 agreed to reclassify $20 million of
the $47.8 million by the end of Fiscal Year 2008. It also stated it would
review the remaining amount ($27.8 million) in annual reviews and when it
achieves a record of decision and settlement for the remaining site work in
Fiscal Year 2010.
The Stringfellow special accounts had a balance of approximately
$117.8 million as of June 11, 2008. The $70 million remaining in the
accounts are to cover potential EPA cleanup costs if the responsible party
(the State of California) is unable to pay. The OIG will address EPA's
management of funds held back for these purposes in a future report.
What We Recommend
We recommend that the Region 9 Administrator reclassify or transfer to the
Superfund Trust Fund, as appropriate, $47.8 million of the Stringfellow
special accounts. In response to our draft report, EPA agreed to reclassify
$20 million of the $47.8 million by the end of Fiscal Year 2008.
The Agency stated that the remaining amount (up to $27.8 million) was a
"buffer for unknowns," some amount of which will be needed for oversight
costs, and indicated that it could potentially reclassify or transfer this
remaining amount ($27.8 million) to the Superfund Trust Fund (plus any
earned interest) by the end of Fiscal Year 2010.