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News In Brief

EPA estimate for cleaning up dumps surges to $22 billion

The Environmental Protection Agency has increased to $22.7 billion its calculation of the maximum cost of cleaning up the nation's worst abandoned hazardous-waste dumps - a 41 percent jump over earlier estimates.

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In reports to Congress Wednesday, the agency said the cost could run as low as $7.6 billion in a best-case estimate.

The cleanup price tag could rise to a far higher, undetermined sum if the Superfund cleanup program is extended to cover other toxic environmental threats not covered under current law, the agency said.