The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency demonstrated significant progress cleaning up high-priority contaminated sites in the national Superfund program, according to a released summary.

The summary, covering fiscal year 2004, states the EPA completed work at 40 sites, bringing the cumulative total to 926 sites—61% of the top priority sites ranked on the National Priorities List (NPL). In 2003, EPA conducted 678 on-going cleanup projects at 428 sites. EPA funded new work at 27 projects across the country—18 more than the previous year. Superfund also continued to prepare for future cleanup efforts by listing 11 new sites and proposing 26 sites to be added to the NPL.

Underscoring EPA's commitment to the “polluter pays” principle, the agency secured $680 million in cleanup commitments and cost recoveries from the parties responsible for toxic waste sites. The Bush administration has asked for a $150 million increase in fiscal years 2004 and 2005 budget requests, above the fiscal year 2003 budget.

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