34 Superfund Projects
Not Funded, EPA Says
Thirty-four Superfund projects in 19 states will go unfunded this year, according to a letter an acting assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency sent to two Democratic lawmakers.
Thomas P. Dunne, whose letter to Democratic Reps. John D. Dingell (Mich.) and Hilda L. Solis (Calif.) was made public by Dingell yesterday, said that, despite some construction delays, "I can assure you that we are doing our best to manage the Superfund program in a way that ensures the protection of human health and the environment from imminent threats while making the best use of the funds we do have."
The Superfund program, which is facing historic budget shortfalls, has come under fire from Democrats and environmental groups in recent months for failing to clean up toxic sites fast enough.
Dingell and Solis, who demanded in August that the EPA describe the full impact of the budget shortfalls, said yesterday that the agency has yet to give Congress a full accounting.
"EPA's failure to inform Congress and the public about the site specific needs of the Superfund program in a timely manner makes it much more difficult to get the support necessary to address this serious problem," the two lawmakers said in a statement.
Pentagon: No Need to
Draft Civilian Doctors
No war or other national emergency would overwhelm the military's medical care system and require a draft of civilian health care workers, a senior Pentagon official said.
William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, told reporters that the Pentagon's own medical system and the private health care networks it is using would be sufficient under any scenario.
He was responding to a New York Times report on Tuesday that said the Selective Service has updated its contingency plans for a draft of doctors and other health care workers, as required by a 1987 law.
The newspaper quoted a Selective Service spokesman as saying that there are plans to deliver 36,000 health care workers to the Pentagon if a special-skills draft is activated.
Heating Oil Price Sets
Record for 3rd Week
The average price U.S. homeowners pay for heating oil set a record for the third straight week, confirming the government's forecast of higher heating bills for consumers this winter even before the cold weather has set in, the Energy Department said.
The national price for heating oil increased 8 cents over the past week, to $1.988 a gallon, up 61 cents from a year ago, the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly survey of heating fuel costs.
When adjusted for inflation, the highest heating oil price was $2.67 a gallon, in March 1981, according to the EIA.
About 8 percent of U.S. homeowners use heating oil, but the vast majority of them are in New England and the Central Atlantic region.
Heating oil prices are up because of higher crude oil costs.
-- Compiled from reports
by staff writer Juliet Eilperin
and wire services