The ECLM Team manages the Central Hazardous Materials Fund (CHF) to support cleanup of contaminated sites located on DOI lands. The Department of the Interior continues to face major demands regarding the cleanup of hazardous substance releases on its property. As of FY 2012, the Department has identified over $176 million in environmental liabilities in its annual financial statement. Much of that liability results from past activities such as mining, landfills, agricultural, and other industrial uses. The CHF is the major vehicle available to the Department to address its medium to long-term cleanup needs.
The CHF supports program management, response actions, remedial investigations/feasibility and other advanced studies, and cleanups at sites where a release of hazardous substances has occurred (as defined in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and for which the Department is the lead agency. The CHF funding may not be used to clean up releases of petroleum, solid waste, or State designated special wastes (such as asbestos or lead based paint) because these may not be federal CERCLA hazardous substances. In previous years, funds for the CHF were appropriated to the BLM for overall fiscal administration and were made available by allocation to the other participating bureaus. These management functions of the CHF have been moved into the Department, specifically the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance (OEPC).