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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 6, 1994


The Clinton Administration's Federal Facilities Policy Group today distributed a mission statement outlining the issues it plans to consider in developing a comprehensive strategy for addressing the Federal government's waste management and cleanup responsibilities.

The formation of the interagency policy group was announced in September, 1993, at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs concerning environmental problems in the Federal government. The policy group is co-chaired by Alice M. Rivlin, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Kathleen McGinty, Director of the White House Office on Environmental Policy.

Representatives from numerous federal agencies, including the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), the Interior, and Justice, along with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, are participating in the effort. In addition, several White House offices, including the Council of Economic Advisers, the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, are participating.

For several decades, defense weapons production facilities, military bases and other federal facilities have produced hazardous and radioactive waste. Cleanup of these contaminated sites will cost billions of dollars and take decades to accomplish. Through the Federal Facilities Policy Group, the government will, for the first time, develop a coordinated strategy for assessing risks, planning cleanup efforts, allocating and managing resources, and measuring and improving cleanup effectiveness and efficiency.

The policy group has been charged with defining new options for improving federal agencies' cleanup and waste management programs. Rivlin said, "We are eager to address the federal government's environmental problems in a proactive, comprehensive, and coordinated manner. The key to making greater progress toward reducing the government's environmental risk is to use our financial resources as efficiently and costeffectively as possible."

McGinty said, "While meeting our current waste management and cleanup responsibilities, we will do our best to develop more effective ways to protect human health and the environment, solicit public input into environmental planning and decision-making, and return non-operating sites to productive economic use."

The Federal Facilities Policy Group will examine a number of interrelated issues that affect environmental management, including methods of setting priorities; options for improving substantive stakeholder involvement; cost estimation; pollution prevention; development of cost-effective new technologies; efficiency and effectiveness of federal agency contracting; federal productivity and efficiency improvements; consolidation of federal cleanup expertise; ecosystem protection and natural resource restoration; and the budget development process.

Among its first undertakings, the policy group will identify options for improving federal agencies' processes for setting cleanup priorities, including means of improving stakeholder input into federal decision-making. The policy group is also examining current estimates of the total cost of cleanups and options for improving these estimates.

Over the next few months, the Federal Facilities Policy Group will meet with representatives from the Congress; State, tribal and local governments; other key stakeholder groups, including environmental groups, community groups and environmental justice advocates; and private industry to discuss ways of addressing Federal facilities waste management and cleanup issues.

A list of members of the Federal Facilities Policy Group and a copy of its mission statement are attached.