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What is the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act?

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The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act is a federal law, adopted in October 1986, that made changes to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. The statute clarified aspects of the Superfund program, an effort to clean up hazardous-waste sites in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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After six years of administering the CERCLA, authorities asked Congress to amend the law. SARA added $8.5 billion to the cleanup trust fund, emphasized the value of permanent solutions to hazardous-waste sites and encouraged the use of the latest cleanup and treatment technologies. It required officials to take into account standards and rules stipulated in other state and federal laws and regulations, notes the EPA.

SARA gave authorities more power to enforce the CERCLA and provided additional methods of reaching settlements with waste-site owners. It placed a priority on human-health issues and called for greater involvement by state officials in all phases of the Superfund program. According to the EPA, SARA stressed the importance of citizen participation in deciding how waste sites should be cleaned.

Superfund officials compile and maintain a National Priorities List that ranks the most dangerous waste sites. People can visit the program's website to find out about Superfund sites in their areas, the contaminants the sites contain, the health effects of the pollutants, cleanup activities and how the public can become involved, states the EPA.

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