Superfund Activities in the Environment and Natural Resources Division for Fiscal Years 2002 and 2003

Report No. 04-38
September 2004
Office of the Inspector General


Introduction

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (known as CERCLA or Superfund) provides for liability, compensation, cleanup, and emergency response for: 1) hazardous substances released into the environment, and 2) uncontrolled and abandoned hazardous waste sites.2 Executive Order 12580, issued January 23, 1987, provides that the Attorney General is responsible for the conduct and control of all litigation arising under Superfund. The Order also requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to transfer from the Hazardous Substance Response Trust Fund resources to support Superfund activities.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 1987, under the statutory authority of 31 U.S.C. 1535, the EPA began transferring appropriated funds to the Department of Justice through interagency agreements. These agreements authorized the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) to be reimbursed for costs incurred in performing Superfund activities. The EPA authorized the ENRD reimbursements of $28.1 million for FY 2002 and $27.9 million for FY 2003 in accordance with EPA Interagency Agreements DW-15-93796801-9 and DW-15-93796801-B, respectively.

The initial agreements in 1987 also required accounting and reporting of recoverable case-related costs. Accordingly, at that time the ENRD instituted a system designed by Rubino & McGeehin, Chartered, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants (contractor). The system was designed to process financial data from Expenditure and Allotment (E&A) Reports into: 1) Superfund direct costs by specific case, broken down between direct labor costs and all other direct costs; 2) non-Superfund direct costs; and 3) allocable indirect costs.3 We reviewed this process and a sample of transactions of other direct costs to assess the allocability of such costs to Superfund and non-Superfund cases during FY 2002 and FY 2003.


Footnotes

  1. Amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986.

  2. Other direct costs charged to individual cases include: special masters, expert witnesses, interest penalties, travel, filing fees, transcription (court and deposition), litigation support, research services, graphics, and non-capital equipment.