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WASHINGTON-The Clinton administration's Superfund reauthorization principles are too rigid, according to one of the chief Republican advocates of reforming the controversial environmental cleanup program.

"To the extent they tell us where the administration is at this time, they are an addition to the process," said Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio. He made his remarks during an address earlier this month to the National Assn. of Manufacturers in Washington.

But Rep. Oxley noted that the principles, released earlier this month, emphasized the White House's opposition to more than 30 possible reforms (BI, May 12). For example, the administration remains adamantly opposed to changing the program's imposition of retroactive and joint and several liability for cleaning up sites that were used before Superfund's 1980 enactment.

"It's fine to be for and against things, but this is not the time to draw lines in the sand," said Rep. Oxley. He said he hopes negotiations on Superfund reform legislation begin in earnest after Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess.

The congressman said earlier this month that he would like the House to vote on the as-yet-undrafted reform bill sometime this fall.