GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush likes to talk about cleaning up contaminated urban sites, or brownfields, and he has said that as president he would push Congress to speed such cleanups, a pledge also made by Al Gore. But two of Bush’s powerful Republican colleagues in the Senate are blocking a bipartisan bill in Congress that would promote brownfields restoration and provide more funding for such cleanups, as much as $150 million a year. The bill, which is supported by the Clinton administration and sponsored by 67 senators, including 28 Republicans, has been stalled by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.). Word is that Lott made a backdoor deal with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) in which Crapo agreed to let pass a bill that would exempt scrap-metal recyclers from Superfund cleanup requirements, thereby helping one of Lott’s old college buddies, if Lott would then block any brownfields legislation from being considered in this session of Congress. Crapo wants the brownfields bill to be expanded to protect the Idaho mining industry from the cost of cleaning up its messes.

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