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Great Lakes Article:

New EPA policy allows PCB-tainted sites to change hands before cleanup

WASHINGTON-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is changing its policy to allow PCB-contaminated properties to change ownership prior to cleanup.

The agency said the policy shift will encourage cleanup and revitalization projects, but a Senator from California accused the agency of weakening protection of the public´s health.

The EPA discussed its planned policy change in an Aug. 14 internal memo, but the agency never publicly disclosed its plans until USA Today obtained a copy of the memo.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., issued a statement calling the EPA´s policy change a "sneak attack."

The Toxic Substances Control Act has barred property transfers since 1978 whenever PCBs are present. However, the agency recently concluded that the policy serves as a disincentive to the cleanup and redevelopment of PCB-contaminated sites, according to a Sept. 4 agency statement.

The policy erects economic disincentives to redevelopment and delays the cleanup of properties, according to the agency.

Despite statements from the Bush administration to the contrary, Boxer accused the administration´s actions of endangering the public´s health and weakening existing protections.

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