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Making Further Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2003 - Amendment No. 246 to Amendment No. 61

Location: Washington, DC




Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I rise in opposition to the Lautenberg amendment. I look over and see both Senators from Louisiana here. I can assure you that money is not just the answer. I remember at Bossier City there was a site that the Federal Government was going to clean up. It was going to cost X dollars. I don't remember the exact amount, but I didn't know this amendment was going to come up. After we spent quite a bit of time, we found that the responsible parties were willing to do it under State supervision. All of the parishes agreed to it. All of the citizens, neighborhood groups, agreed to it. Yet they were still going to do it. We ended up forcing this through and cleaning it up for one-half the amount of money and in one-half of the time.

We need to reform the Superfund system. I would argue with my good friend from Idaho, I think we have the largest Superfund problem in Tar Creek in the State of Oklahoma.

I will not yield to my friend because I think I need my time.

But I would say this: We have spent about $100 million on it over the last 15 years, and it has not resolved the problem. We want to reform the system. We need to reform the system. And, of course, there are no offsets. So I know that will mean something to some of the people.

But let's go ahead, give our committee a chance, give Senator Chafee, whose subcommittee has the jurisdiction, a chance to go in here and do a better job rather than pouring money on a system that is not working today.

Now I will yield—

Mr. CRAIG. One minute.

Mr. INHOFE. One minute to the Senator from Idaho.

Mr. CRAIG. The superfund site in Coeur d'Alene, ID, that the Senator from New Jersey referred to, 3 years ago was touted to cost $1 billion to clean up. As a result of a cooperative State plan, in conjunction with EPA—the first unique plan of this kind, designed under a new State commission; and our new Director Whitman has signed off on it—that same area can be cleaned up and meet all of the standards for less than $300 million over a 12-year to 15-year period.

Now, $300 million versus $1 billion is a heck of a lot of money. Because of these new cooperative relationships and State plans—that past EPAs refused to negotiate and bring States into the process—but because we are now doing that, I agree with the Senator from Oklahoma, there is great opportunity for reform. You just don't throw money at these problems. You resolve them in new, creative ways, and still meet standards for clean water and clean air.

Mr. INHOFE. I appreciate the comments of the Senator from Idaho because we do have two of those devastating sites.

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