UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460
June 12, 1997
Hon. Carol M. Browner
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Ms. Browner:
In light of the Inspector General's recent concern over the inappropriate influence of regulated industries on EPA decisions, I would like to call to your attention to an apparent violation of the law by EPA Region 5 at the behest of the Westinghouse Corporation.
Westinghouse had disposed of capacitors containing the toxic chemical PCB in several sites in the area of Bloomington, Indiana. After several years of negotiation, EPA reached a consent agreement with Westinghouse and the town of Bloomington in 1985. Contrary to the requirements of the law, no analysis of the alternative ways of treating the hazardous waste was performed and the citizens were outraged at the agreement from which they were excluded (see attached memo dated February 15, 1996).
Bloomington citizens have fought the consent agreement for years. They succeeded in blocking its implementation as originally drafted but they have failed to get EPA to perform the legally required analysis of alternatives (called an RI/FS). Even a stern rebuke by the Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response failed to move them. In a September 25, 1996 memorandum to William Muno, Region 5 Superfund Division Director, Elliott Laws wrote:As background, I requested that the National Ombudsman look into community allegations that an RI/FS or equivalent had not been performed prior to the signing of the consent decree. Upon further study, Bill Sanjour reported finding no documentation relating to the performance of an RI/FS or the "functional equivalent." He recommended that an RI/FS be completed, notwithstanding the judgement of the court. OGC and OERR were involved in subsequent discussions of this issue. At the request of the Regional Counsel, we entered into a more substantive discussion with OGC, OERR and the Office of the Ombudsman. Bob Martin met with Doug Bellotti, the newly appointed Regional Ombudsman, in Kansas City, during June at a training meeting for Regional Ombudsmen. Doug and Bob agreed to work together to address the issues raised by citizens at the Bloomington sites.In spite of this nothing has been done. Some time ago I asked Dan Hopkins, Regional Project Manager of the Bloomington sites why they did not do an RI/FS in order to quell community complaints. He told me they wouldn't do it because Westinghouse did not want it done. A later meeting with Westinghouse representatives, at which Bob Martin was present, confirmed this.
Thus, William Muno and his superiors, are apparently willing to violate the law, perpetuate public ire, and withstand the rebuke of an assistant administrator in order please the Westinghouse Corporation. However, those of us who are acquainted with Mr. Muno's willingness to bend and break any number of rules and laws in order to permit the infamous WTI incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio, will not be surprised by his loyalty to another one of his "clients".
EPA's contemptuous treatment of the Bloomington community was not limited to issues surrounding the consent decree but covers a wide range of abuses, some of which are documented in my attached memo of August 2, 1996.
In this, and the other letters I have written to you, I hoped to bring to your attention apparent instances of the illegal influences of industry into EPA decision making in the knowledge that you are truly dedicated to rooting out these unlawful and unethical practices.
cc: Inspector General
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