I'm sure many valid opinions can be held about the Superfund program, but Tim Fields's Sept. 3 letter begs for a rebuttal from those who were associated with the program in its early years.

Mr. Fields notes that "almost three times as many toxic waste sites have had cleanup construction completed during the Clinton administration as in all other administrations combined. From 1981 to 1992, 155 sites were completed. From 1993 to the present 458 sites were completed." He then notes that cleanup time has dropped from 10 years to eight years.

Well, gosh! If it takes 10 years to clean up a site, and the Superfund program started in 1981, then we should really be surprised that even 155 sites were completed by 1992. How many of the 458 sites completed from 1993 to the present actually started cleanup before 1993? Probably most of them. This does not represent some big improvement for the administration.

The early days of Superfund were a time of hard work by dedicated civil servants in a program that was continually beset by political controversy. Tim Fields knows that because, at that time, he was one of those dedicated civil servants. There have been many improvements in the program over the years, but let's not allow politics and specious arguments to denigrate the efforts of those who made the program work in its early days.

THAD JUSZCZAK

Springfield