Under the Bush administration, the Superfund program to clean up toxic-waste sites is seemingly becoming not-so-super. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the U.S. EPA completed cleanups at 42 toxic waste sites, down from 47 in the previous 12 months. This year’s total was unimpressive compared to the average of 76 sites cleaned annually during the Clinton administration. The total might have been even lower if environmentalists and congressional Democrats hadn’t accused the Bush administration of being lax with polluters after the EPA’s inspector general revealed that 33 Superfund sites hadn’t received federal money three-quarters of the way into the fiscal year. As a result, 21 of those sites received eleventh-hour funding. EPA officials said the decline in the number of cleanups was due to the size and complexity of the jobs.

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