1984 Scorecard Vote
As noted above, the government has been incredibly slow about cleaning up even a tiny fraction of the thousands of abandoned toxic waste dumps in America. When Anne Burford was running the Environmental Protection Agency, decisions about which dumps to clean up were often made on the basis of political considerations rather than the greatest need. Under Ruckelshaus and Thomas these decisions have been more objective. But even now, citizens have very little to say about cleanup priorities and no authority to make EPA act in a timely manner as the law requires.
The House Superfund extension bill contained a new provision giving citizens the right to sue EPA to perform any duty under the Superfund law which it had failed to perform. The provision gave EPA ample opportunity to respond to complaints before a case could actually go to court. Suits for cleanup would be limited to situations posing "imminent and substantial danger."
The Sawyer amendment to delete this new provision was rejected 141-248; August 9, 1984. NO is the pro-environmental vote. (Sawyer amendment to the Superfund Extension, H.R. 5640.) The Reagan Administration supported the Sawyer amendment. The Superfund Extension passed the House but died in the Senate.