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EPA WORKING ON NEW RULES FOR SUPERFUND

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New government standards for cleaning up toxic waste sites would depend on what those sites are used for. Land where people live would be subject to stricter rules than commercial property, the administration will propose.

The legislative proposal for overhauling the 1980 Superfund law is expected to be announced later this week by the Environmental Protection Agency.An inter-agency task has been working for a month on a comprehensive proposal to improve the 1980 law, which has been widely criticized by industry executives and environmentalists alike as largely ineffective.

While billions of dollars have been spent since 1980 under the law, much of the money has gone for lawyers because of disputes over who is responsible for the pollution.

So far, cleanup has been completed at only about 200 of the more than 1,250 toxic waste sites that are on a federal priority list.

EPA officials familiar with the proposal said Sunday it will restructure cleanup standards, depending on whether a site will be used for residential purposes, commercial or industrial use or remain open space.