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Why is there not a single Indian university within the world's top 100 index list?
I will try and answer this being brutally honest to myself.Disclaimer:This post is not a critique or a bashing of any individual or any organization or any academic institution in particular; rather a part introspection and understanding Swami Vivekananda's most quoted line about Education; Education is the manifestation of the perfection already present in Man(1).Instead of analyzing economic conditions’ variations and economics between countries; this post is my personal introspection into what makes students at Top universities great. And quintessentially, the psychological and social chasm our (Indian) educational institutions need to cross to be deemed exceptional in its truest sense.Since this is going to be a long treatise; all you need is a good cup of tea & an open mind. Read on…I read for my post-grad at Oxford (2005-2006). There were 26 students in my batch. I was the most dumb of them all (though I cleared my 2 written final exams with A+ grades, failed miserably in the Stats exam multiple times; had prepared my MPhil & DPhil application as well; but dumped it all in a trash can on the final day; really didn’t want to carry on…). Most were Rhodes scholars(2) from across the Globe, National scholars and Asian-APAC-African Continent level scholars.In a pure showdown of intellect, man to man, subject to subject and intellect versus intellect; Oxbridge students will beat the best breed of IIT/IIMs anytime, anyplace, anywhere on Earth.Having said that, now many of us will ask - “Are you out of your mind??? IIT/IIMs have the toughest exam on Earth… their grads are launching amazing eCommerce portals every day in India, disrupting the SCM eco-system; IT companies are ruled by IITs/IIMs literally; and what non-sense are you talking about? Are you an idiot?”What makes the University of Oxford an epitome of education? Why is it so revered globally for a 1,000 years? Why is it the greatest temple of knowledge on Earth?Read on…I will give you the *PERFECT* reasoning for that.Oxford & Cambridge are the 2 top most Classical Universities on Earth; Oxford being the oldest English speaking university on Earth. The total number of Nobel Laureates if you count from these 2 universities and the patents they have in total will put us to shame (Oxford = 58, Cambridge = 90; i.e. 148 Nobel Laureates shared between both). The reason is simple - like in my class of 26 students we were 5 Indians. And each Indian was like a “rat” looking for that next Consulting job desperately to buy that Merc and show off to his native - “Mera beta UK mein Consulting kar ta hai” (My son is into Consulting in the U.K.). E.g. I had a friend from Hyderabad in the U.K. who was there with me - his parents started dowry-talks back at home already cause “Mera beta Oxford mein hai! Faren mein settle kare ga!!!!!” (My son is in Oxford! He will settle in a foreign land!) (With due respect to all from Hyd, nothing against you guys!). I had a gold medal in my BTech in Computer Science engineering, had recommendations from 2 Professors who were visiting professors at Stanford University & California Institute of Technology, won “starist” (Batch Representative) elections 7 times in a row at the undergrads; had International papers published and what not!!!! I had lots of “attitude” and “ego” (like all Indians) when on the first day; a snob and spoiled brat. When I met the other fellow students, my ego got shattered; was smashed into bits! Reason being simple - Oxford & Cambridge are not meant for joining for brand-names and then getting that Consulting job or for getting dowry. Corporate Rat Race has no meaning for 99% of the students who get into Oxford. Its not meant for any of this. Then you will ask - why the heck would anyone study at Oxford or Cambridge? In simple terms, “most students (with 1% exception like myself who were failures in the Oxbridge eyes); join Oxbridge to push the human race forward”. There’s a lot of depth in my last statement. Read it once again; SLOWLY this time. They become scientists, do amazing Molecular Biology research, do amazing Zoological research, find path-breaking Machine Learning algorithms which push cancer research forward decades; they find new ways of doing Behavioral Science studies which help decode why “men turns into rapists” and so on.Enough theory - now let’s talk some real examples - I had an African guy (Michael) in my batch, who became my best friend - he had stood first throughout his life, school, high-school, university, post-grad, and selected as the only Rhodes scholar for full-funded 7-year research at Oxford from South Africa - he was doing research on “Understanding the psychological implications of Slavery on 2nd-generation children of former Slaves in Gold/Silver Mines in SA”; his recommendations would be put in Govt. policies when he finishes his MSc, then MPhil and finally his DPhil. We had job fairs at the Univ; where the world’s top 50 companies come and BEG (I articulately put the word here, not interview, cause the interview is more of a “formality” to select undergrads / postgrads) to join them; Michael had people standing outside of his flat’s door of his hostel (I have seen it with my own eyes cause I used to visit his Hostel for playing pool) but he didn't speak with them. He said - no, he wants to go back cause his ancestors were slaves once. He wishes to return to his country and do something for the country, his society and Govt. His starting salary in any of the Consulting firms would have been minimum GBP 150,000 annual (I was a complete sub-standard nincompoop, mine was only GBP 45,000 in comparison). Second example - I met and dated for a brief time an amazing lady from Romania (she had stood first throughout her life in school, high-school, university) and now doing Behavioral Studies specialization at my Dept. We attended one Stats class together, became friends quick (cause I speak Russian fluently having lived in Moscow for 4 years) and we dated for 2 Sems. She was there not to find any Corporate Job in London; but was being funded (4-year studies) by the Ministry of Internal Affairs at Romania; she was one of the top experts in her field doing “psychological analysis of how to stop organized crime” in Slavic States. I passed my exams with 45% in most exams, she aced the tests with 100% in all. Could she have not joined Google? Her IQ would be higher than Sundar Pichai himself. She's back in Romania now helping crack organized crime; has been recently promoted and part of the IRB (Interior of Organized Crime Unit) in her Govt. Let’s now come to the 3rd example - the most wonderful of all - I met another guy (a British guy) this time - we were both working as ‘Porters’ during one of our breaks. We used to carry stuff from one place to another and help the Corporate Houses put up show during Job Fairs (this is organized by a Department at Oxford University called Oxford University Careers Service (OUCS) and we were both enlisted therein to work during Semester breaks). This guy was doing his final year of DPhil in Environmental Sciences and we had one short course together. We became good friends; and I got to know him better. He had been a Scholar at Cambridge, stood first throughout his life, aced Cambridge (stood first in all years of Engineering), then did a year at Harvard, then switched to Oxford for his MPhil & PhD (like I had finished my undergrads in Computer Science engineering but chose to study for an MSc in Behavioral Sciences at Oxford; he changed to Environmental Sciences/Engineering, I believe). He travels to Africa every year to help understand and live & work amongst Masai people, lives with them 5-6 months every year for field projects; collects data, analyzes them and helps in conservation of their habitats for their future generations owing to threats that modern civilization has put on them. We were once working together for an event (setting up the stalls for the Large Corporate houses to come next day), I still remember - I had looked at his face and had asked him - “You have no money, not a good watch even, no car, no apartment; tomorrow when the world’s top companies will be here… why don’t you get a job in Accenture OR Microsoft OR some company man… anyone on Earth will take you… they will be so happy to have you!”. He had smiled and said - “Have you been to Africa man? You need to go once. You wouldn't understand!” I had borrowed him one of my favorite novels during Oxford days, “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life” by Jon Lee Anderson a few weeks back (since we both loved reading); which he came to return in a heavy downpour one evening. I was moving to London for beginning my “rat race” with an internship in a Consulting firm within a few days; and he was soon traveling to Africa. I still remember - I couldn’t look up to his eyes; cause was so ashamed within. I have never forgotten that feeling.Now let’s do a quick summary:Life’s objective for most students at Oxbridge or any of the Top Universities on Earth is to “push the human race forward”(3). E.g. in case of Oxford, most students I met and interacted with; their life’s desire was to get on to this page (link given below) if possible in OR after their lifetimes; to leave a small dent in the Universe after they are no more. http://www.ox.ac.uk/about/oxford-people/famous-oxoniansJoining a software company, or a Consulting firm or launching an eCommerce company selling baby soaps & oil & detergents & lingerie online has never been the Agenda for truly gifted individuals at the top universities. Hence, they indulge in activities & professions that can push the human race forward. Core attitude of students & professors is different. They are guided by the eternal yearning for life-long learning that will benefit Humanity. Folks like Malvika have no place in an IIT/IIM; Oxbridge & MIT definitely needs them cause they value the inherent excellence in them.Professors at the Top Classical and Tech universities are chosen exclusively based on their merits. World-renowned fame and life-long dedication and ultimate sacrifice for many of them for their cause. Likes of Stephen Hawking at Cambridge, Amartya Sen at Harvard and Visiting Professor at Oxford University and countless of them. At my undergrads, 2 of the colleagues of 2 of my Professors won Nobel Prize in Solid State Physics; their dedication was immense. One of my Professors who's a world renowned Professor in Nuclear Energy was scheduled for a lecture on “Data Acquisition (DAQ) systems” didn't come on the day. We were very upset when the Junior TA turned up! We came to know - the cooling rods of one of the nuclear reactors in a nuclear power plant in China has shown some anomalous reading in the night; our Professor has been sent urgently by the Govt. after the Chinese Govt. has reached out in the middle of the night. So aptly exemplified in the Vedas in Sanskrit (that I had perused in my school days):स्वगृहे पूज्यते मूर्खः स्वग्रामे पूज्यते प्रभुःस्वदेशे पूज्यते राजा विद्वान् सर्वत्र पूज्यतेSwa gruhe Poojyathe Murkha, Swa graame Poojyathe Prabhu, Swa deshe Poojyathe Raja, Vidhwan Sarvathra Poojyathe(4). Meaning, even an idiot (or imbecile) is respected in his/her own home(s), landlords are respected in their own villages, a King is respected in his own kingdom, a Scholar is above Political Barriers because he is globally respected wherever he goes. The Latin word 'science' simply means 'knowledge'. Intellect has no boundaries; its only purpose is to serve Humanity.On the contrary, IIT/IIMs are rampant with SC/ST quota politics & Political Party Interference practically in every step of the educational process; from official sources, here’s the reservations in IITs in teaching staff: 15% for SC + 7.5% for ST + 27% for other backward classes (OBCs) = 49.5% (Source: IIT Bombay falls in line, starts faculty quota) & from what I have heard from my friends; as much as 60-70% Teachers are from Reserved Category in the newly formed IITs. Intellect cannot have Reservations; It is God's ultimate gift to humanity (close your eyes for 10 seconds and imagine this situation - Stephen Hawking attending a Trinamool Congress meeting chaired by Mamata Banerjee and she’s blasting him cause Youth TMC votes have considerably dropped in Cambridge over past couple of years especially in his Department of Mathematics; and in case he doesn’t pull his socks up; she could personally fire him and the next Newton Chair (aka Lucasian Chair of Mathematics) should come from a SC/ST in Wales in England!). Not in this lifetime!Classical universities have the best Infrastructure, Funding & Truly Gifted Individuals who give back to their society. In comparison, our unis & IITs/IIMs have been transformed into factories which are mostly intended for churning out mediocre “slaves” for large Corps; a “rat race” for admissions, and then eventually “placement” and then finally filling up cheap IT Labor (I have lost count of how many IIT/IIM/ISB grads I have met across AWS, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle being what? Account Managers & Enterprise Sales Reps selling software licenses to customers!). A vanguard of the Indian society - whom everyone looks up to and aspires to be - cannot fall so low.In all, when I look back at this and compare our IITs/IIMs with my friends back in Oxford & Cambridge; and see how much they are striving to make a difference in their respective fields; I feel ashamed of my own existence, and how little I am; how insignificant and selfish I am; with a job at the 2nd largest Software company on Earth traveling around globally today; but without any real contribution to Society.We as a country to become the greatest; and for IIT/IIMs to rank amongst the best; our Society has to change. Has to mature; and push ourselves and our students for higher things. Higher aims. Noble aims. In Swami Vivekananda’s own words; he believed so strongly that Indian educational system yet doesn’t let our students excel in the perfect spiritual manner; so well quoted in “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already present in Man”. All this perfection requires is a breeding ground.Considered as the wisest of the 7 Stoic philosophers, the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, said in his book Meditations; “What we do in life, echoes in eternity!”. Not many IITs/IIMs grads can say that… practically they leave no legacy. On the other hand, folks like Michael, Elena & Steven; when they are eventually gone, the World will have less in it.Be like a rocky promontory against which the restless surf continually pounds; it stands fast while the churning sea is lulled to sleep at its feet. I hear you say, “How unlucky that this should happen to me!” Not at all! Say instead, “How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened and am not afraid of what is about to happen. The same blow might have struck anyone, but not many would have absorbed it without capitulation or complaint”. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)What bewildered me during my tenure at Oxford was the beautiful dichotomy between financial abundance versus the God-like self control that many of the Scholars had. They had a paradigm of the ideal, which traversed across all religious, political, national and linguistic barriers.Quintessentially, in Latin, Dignitas maior est quam tanti viri ejus vitae concipiunt, discendi desiderio aeternae is the difference. In English it is Marcus Aurelius’ one of the most renowned quotes, ‘A man’s worth can never be greater than the worth of his life’s ambitions; the eternal desire for learning!’ is the difference.PS: These are some of the projects Oxford scientists & Alumni work on. Take a peek into what it means to push the human race forward.Cecil the lion’s son Xanda also shot dead in ZimbabweWaking up to Famine! by David MilibandBreakthrough Discovery in treating Bowel CancerThe long war: Defeating Incurable Cancer with a VirusThere’s still Hope for People Suffering from AutismSeeing the Light: Giving Vision to the BlindSources:(1) This quotation was originally part of a letter written to Singaravelu Mudaliyar (Kidi) from Chicago, United States, dated 3 March 1894. The letter was later published as a prose in the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda.(2) Rhodes Scholarship - Wikipedia, Rhodes House - Home of The Rhodes Scholarships(3) Stealing the exact words from John Chapman’s letter to his wife; which was incidentally borrowed by Jack Kerouac in his legendary book, 'On the Road'; finally made famous by Steve Jobs in his Apple commercial, The Crazy Ones.(4) Indian Vedas: Vedas - WikipediaEDIT: Here’s the latest Times Higher Education 2018 Global Universities ranking:University of Oxford (UK)University of Cambridge (UK)California Institute of Technology (US)Stanford University (US)Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)Harvard University (US)Princeton University (US)Imperial College London (UK)University of Chicago (US)ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich(Switzerland)=10 University of Pennsylvania (US)For Indians, no India this year in Top 250. Here’s Indian rankings:251–300 Indian Institute of Science351–400 Indian Institute of Technology Bombay501–600 Indian Institute of Technology Delhi501–600 Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur501–600 Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur501–600 Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee601–800 Aligarh Muslim University601–800 Banaras Hindu University601–800 University of Delhi601–800 Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati601–800 Indian Institute of Technology Madras601–800 Indian School of Mines601–800 Jadavpur University601–800 National Institute of Technology Rourkela601–800 Panjab University601–800 Savitribai Phule Pune University601–800 Tezpur University801–1000 Amrita University801–1000 Andhra University801–1000 Annamalai University801–1000 Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani801–1000 University of Calcutta801–1000 Cochin University of Science and Technology801–1000 Jamia Millia Islamia801–1000 University of Kerala801–1000 Osmania University801–1000 Pondicherry University801–1000 Sri Venkateswara University801–1000 Thapar University801–1000 VIT University1001+ Amity University1001+ G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar1001+ GITAM University1001+ Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Anantapur (JNTUA)1001+ Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda1001+ Manipal University1001+ University of Mysore1001+ PSG College of Technology1001+ SASTRA University1001+ Sathyabama University1001+ SRM University1001+ Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Due to the pandemic, UK universities are close to bankruptcy and urgently require a bailout of £2 billions. Based on a past article though, only in 2015, they generated £95 billions. How come they don't have the surplus to survive for 1-2 years?
Q: Due to the pandemic, UK universities are close to bankruptcy and urgently require a bailout of £2 billions. Based on a past article though, only in 2015, they generated £95 billions. How come they don't have the surplus to survive for 1-2 years?1: Answer: UK universities not all in a similar financial position and the 2015 article does not cover the pandemic position. Many are close to bankruptcy and urgently require substantial bail-outs. A little discussion might be helpful.Caveat: I did work for various Education Councils for some sixteen years from 1989–2005, such as the Further Education Funding Council for England, the University Grants Committee, The Higher EducationFunding Council for England and the Learning and Skills Council. I have signed the Official Secrets Act and while I can present such information which is in the public domain I cannot discuss privileged insider information which I possess.I was the author of the Capital Affordability Review/Edwards Report which is mentioned at Paras 19 and 20 and Annex B of the House of Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee Report“Spend, spend, spend? – the mismanagement of the Learning and Skills Council’s capital programme in further education colleges” - see https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmdius/530/530.pdfYou will see from this Report why I may need to be circumspect in this Answer and why my Capital Affordability Review/Edwards Report was officially and disastrously disregarded.2 Discussion. One question and answer in a memorable previous encounter between the PAC and the UGC goes some way to explain the extent of the differences in the position of Universities. The CEO of the UGC was asked“Why was the University of Essex regarded as being more financially at risk than the University of Edinburgh when their trading positions looked similar?”After a brief adjournment, the Chief Executive of the UGC replied“The unIversity of Essex could survive a year or two of such poor results, while the University of Edinburgh could survive such circumstances for one or two centuries.”I can’t guarantee I’m remembering the exact words of that verbal exchange accurately, but that’s the gist of it.3 University AssetsSome of the assets of universities are a consequence of their origin. Oxford and Cambridge were both monasteries which apparently retained their land holdings and educational functions when King Henry VIII abolished the monasteries. A common observation in Cambridge is that it is possible to walk from Cambridge Colleges to the sea without once stepping off land owned by the “Masters and Scholars of Cambridge”. Some British shopping malls have a brass plate at the entry saying ”This Shopping Centre is an investment by the Masters and Scholars of Cambridge.” Same for Oxford. Special HEFCE additional grants for the upkeep of the many listed academic buildings in Oxford, Cambridge and Durham were once made annually. The Oxford boast which I have heard is that you might be able to walk to Cambridge on Oxford-Colleges-owned land. See University of Oxford - Wikipedia and see the Guardian report Oxford and Cambridge university colleges hold £21bn in riches4 How come some British universities don't have the surplus to survive for 1-2 years?The policy of the Conservatives has been, is, and remains, to remove all public funding from all British universities. See the out-of-date but very relevant paper atThe Marketisation of British Universities: Neoliberalism and the Privatisation of Knowledge | the A-LineThe key points in that paper are: :"While academic salaries have not risen in line with inflation, vice-chancellors in UK universities have benefited from a 227% increase in financial benefits since 2010. According to one analysis, “in 2010 total vice-chancellors benefits amounted to £633,999/ $900, 000, by 2016 this had increased to £2,071,393/ $2, 900, 000.”"As undergraduate tuition fees rise, education becomes increasingly driven by a neo-liberal agenda encouraged by a Conservative government that chirrups about meritocracy even as it ensures that university is prohibitively expensive for students from poor socio-economic backgrounds. “The real logic of this,” Doherty explains, “is that it legitimises a structure in which the University becomes an institution designed to exacerbate social and wealth inequality among individuals. Personal greed—perhaps now ever clearer in the salary hikes of many VCs—becomes the sole motivational force that drives the search for knowledge.”" In 2010, a Tory cabinet decided to all but remove public funding for university teaching, which would instead be paid for by higher student fees, resulting in the creation of a competitive university market.”That last comment perhaps supports a recent Conservative Report I’ve heard about, but cannot locate, that no public funds should be provided in future to any UK universities, which should be wholly privatised. That was, is and will be the British Government response to this report that British Universities need public support: no public money will be forthcoming.5 The Scots have a higher Educational Quotient and typically receive much more education in their schools and at their universities than the English. As Joe Grice, the Chief Economic Advisor to the Office of National Statistics has observed.“In terms of the proportion of the population going into higher and tertiary education, Scotland actually has just about the highest in the world,” ONS chief economic adviser Joe Grice told ITV News.“Scotland also does very well in terms of people in the working-age population (16–64) that have got a qualification at NVQ4 or above.”The numbers in the report Grice was presenting showed that:“Scotland is the best educated country in Europe, according to a report released by the Office for National statistics.it - statistics Resources and Information. says that nearly 45 per cent of people in Scotland aged between 25 and 64 have had some kind of tertiary education — including university degrees and further education — ahead of Ireland, Luxembourg and Finland, which were the only other countries to get more than 40 per cent.”See The Scottish Industrial Revolution, or The Scottish First Industrial Miracle 1700–1800Tuition fees for a University Education are paid for by the Scottish Government. That has resulted, along with the still-better primary and secondary school effectiveness of Scottish Education, in a superior educational level in Scotland.Both recent upper-class English public-school-educated Prime Ministers have said that if elected they would deal with the “unfair” Barnett settlement which appeared to them to act in Scotland’s favour. Immediately after election both David Cameron and Boris Jonson discovered (doubtless on the advice of their ministers) that if Scotland voted for independence, it was not Scotland but England which became an economic basket case because it was Scotland’s oil that was supporting England’s inept ruled-for-the-rich economic policies. A sudden and surprising love for all things Scottish was suddenly expressed by both Cameron and Johnson after they attained the premiership. The real love they were expressing, of course, was the love of Scotland’s oil money, and Cameron employed MI5 to produce an anti-independence vote. See “Should Scotland Be An Independent Country?” which comments that“Because Scotland is large, clever and capable and not “wee, stupid and incompetent” as the “No Campaign” at first claimed. Scotland is 78,789 km2, while England is 129,720 km2, So Scotland, with less than 10% of England’s population, has about 60% of the area of England — not wee at all. The 200-mile economic sea zone of Scotland is much bigger than England’s because except for Northern Ireland, Scotland has no close neighbours within its 200-mile coastal seas exclusive economic zone. Also not wee at all. Scotland has massive resources per head — more land, more forests, more fisheries, more seabed resources, more oil, more green energy sources in the wind and waves — than the rest of the UK have. And thanks to the continuation of free higher education the Scots are continuing their centuries-long tradition of being a bit better educated than those south of Hadrian’s wall.“And the McCrone Report is very relevant: the above reference continues“As Wikipedia reports:“In January 1974, the Conservative government had commissioned the McCrone report, written by Professor Gavin McCrone, a leading government economist, to report on the viability of an independent Scotland. He concluded that oil would have given an independent Scotland one of the strongest currencies in Europe. The report went on to say that officials advised government ministers on how to take “the wind out of the SNP sails”. Handed over to the incoming Labour administration and classified as secret because of Labour fears over the surge in Scottish National Party popularity, the document came to light only in 2005, when the SNP obtained the report under the Freedom of Information Act 20″The Scottish devolved Government have run Scotland “for the benefit of the millions, not the millionaires” and it remains to be seen if the disastrous ”Home Isolation” policies on Scottish Universities can be better than those in England.6 Conclusions6.1 Higher education in England has been utterly destroyedas an escalator for the poor but gifted students who cannot afford university tuition fees of £9,000 a yearas a source of first-class international researchand as a key contributor to scientific progressBecause of an unpublicised but close-to-fatal change in British Government policy to provide no public funds for British universities.6.2 The situation in Scotland is different because some university tuition fees have sometimes apparently continued to be paid where online provision has replaced student attendances: See Coronavirus: Tuition fees for Scots students 'not an option' as universities face £700m holeWhich reports Karen Watt, the chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, which is responsible for funding universities, told Holyrood’s education committee that universities face “cumulative multi-year impacts”.“Every institution, as far as we are seeing it, is very, very quickly pivoted into providing support and online provision – and therefore, I think, we are seeing less requirement for refunds and less of a demand for it.”The collapse in foreign student market in the old research-based universities is very significant:“She added: “In the university sector we could estimate that even this academic year, losses of around £72 million. Going into the next academic year, our estimates are in the range of between £400 million to £650 million – depending on what happens with international student intakes.” and“We have a very diverse higher education system – we have brilliant, small, specialist institutions, we have chartered institutions and we have ancient institutions. What we now find is that the more research intensive, internationally-open, big ancient universities are the ones that are much more exposed in this particular crisis – those are the institutions that we are having more conversations with about their strategies and about their scenarios.“Ms Watt also told MSPs that it was likely that Scotland’s colleges could lose around £25 million in the 2020/21 financial year.“She said that her organisation has not received a flurry of demands for refunds from students, but stressed it could become an issue if institutions struggled to offer tuition digitally.She said: “If for example, an institution was really struggling to keep going with tuition, particularly making sure that they have adequate online provision, then I think there may well be a case for students to look at what they are being provided.”Because Scottish student tuition fees are paid by the Scottish Government, the switch-to-internet tuition is more recorded in Scotland than in England, where the fee-dependent English Universities are just being invited to survive as they can.6.3 British R&D is now not the significant force in world development as it once was. See Gross domestic expenditure on research and development, UKNot a happy position. English universities are now run on greed and that is an unlikely motivation for the excellent research they once produced.But that’s the way it is.
How effective is the EPA's Superfund program?
The Gist:The overall criticisms of theprogram are its inefficiency, inaccuracy, and monetary cost.The inaccuracy claim comeslargely from the fact that risk assessments are subjective, and therefore biased.Scientists use bioassays, which often give conservative estimates ofenvironmental risk. They also use epidemiology, an assay that makes it hard tolink observed risk with cause.One of the biggest controversiesof the program is the liability issue. The EPA states that if negligent andfault is found on the part of the defendant, that they are strictly held to thefunds of cleaning up the site; however, many worry that it actually tax dollarspaying for the doings of these highly profitable companies. One of the uniqueproperties of the Superfund is that companies that dumped waste even before theSuperfund program can be counted for liability. Each of the polluters can beliable for the cost to clean up the entire site.The next controversy of theprogram is that it is inefficient. Critics claim that there are often delays incleaning up the sites, that there are administrative deficiencies, and thatthere are high transaction costs that are ultimately paid for by the EPA andnot the responsible parties. In 2010 alone, the program conducted 261 five-yearreviews, amended 24 cleanup plans, and issued 59 explanations of significantdifferences at 53 sites.All of these actions, while important to the documentation of the program, takeaway from funds allocated to the actual remediation process.Refutations of the inefficiencyclaim state that the program did not really get off the ground until 1987. Ingeneral, critics tend to focus on the number of sites cleaned up (or not),however, it is really the decrease in health risk that should be emphasized.This focus on number of sites gives the EPA incentive to fix the easiest sitesrather than to take action where the money would have the biggest impact.Still others claim that theSuperfund process is inherently unfair. The superfund cannot equitably fix the fact that some populations aremore exposed to the toxic substances more than others. Although most wouldassume that it is poorer parts of the nation that are impacted more, Superfundsites are actually found more often in wealthier towns. This may have to dowith the fact that industry was settled and made great financial profit for thetown and its workers while simultaneously polluting the area. In areas ofhigher median income, on average it takes more time between the proposal andfinal NPL status. Also, sites are less likely to have removal actions and areassociated with larger planned cleanup obligations.Impacts of the Toxic ReleaseInventory were also felt. It took time and resources for companies to make thereports, and cost them money to change their chemicals. It took governmentresources to make the data public (which was difficult because of technologyavailable at the time). Furthermore, the accuracy of the data was still inquestion since companies were self-reporting. In addition, housing prices inneighborhoods near the plants dropped, effecting homeowners and the housingmarkets of the microcosm economies.There are many shortcomings ofthe program that have to do with the bureaucracy of government. The term “dump-stumping”has been coined to describe when politicians visit a site just to criticize theSuperfund program and get PR. Initially, when the Superfund program wassupported by Republicans, Democrats criticized. The opposite is now true asdemocrats are more likely to support the EPA and its funding than republicans.Nonetheless, there were stillclear benefits of the TRI program. It ultimately led to a change in chemicaluse to those that were less toxic and that stakeholders approved of more. It helpedreporters, journalists, activists, and environmental lobbyists delve deeper andmake more accurate claims. It also lead to the phasing out of ozone depletingchemicals also known as CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons), which had a significantimpact on the “ozone hole”. Thirty-three out of fifty participants in theprogram voluntarily reduced their levels of pollution.Many see the Superfund as a wayto make companies “internalize externalities”.As pollution data goes public, companies reduce their more dangerouspollutants, especially in areas of greater voter turnout. However, pound ofpollution is a bad way to quantify success because different chemicals havedifferent effects. This is something that the general public is usuallyuninformed about and goes unnoticed.The Final Paper:In2011, Forbes rated the Philadelphia area as the most toxic in the United Statesbecause of its concentrations of highly contaminated Superfund sites.However, as Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Anthony Wood said, “MostPhiladelphians wouldn’t know the Superfund from the Super Bowl.”Most Superfund sites look as plain as a gated lot with a small sign indicatingcontamination and risk. Although scarcely known, the Superfund is extremelyrelevant to the Philadelphia area and residents should become informed in orderto ensure the safety of their communities.Inthe summer of 1978, toxic chemicals turned up in basements and yards near LoveCanal, New York. It was soon discovered that the Hooker Chemical Company hadfilled an abandoned site with over 21,000 tons of chemical waste. Hookercovered the site with earth and clay and sold it to the Niagara Falls Board ofEducation for one dollar. Schools and a playground were then built on the siteand a residential community developed in the neighborhood.In1986, two sites per each congressional district were put on the NationalPriorities List to start off the program. CERCLIS, the ComprehensiveEnvironmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System, asuperfund tracking database, was created to follow their progress. However, insome districts there were over 50 sites that did not qualify for the program,despite their toxicity.OnDecember 2, 1984, there was a leak at the Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal, Indiathat killed over 20,000 workers and residents. Union Carbide was an Americancompany under the Dow Corporation that had slipped in equipment maintenance anddrastically reduced training time for workers to cut costs. Senior managersnever checked to see if the plant was following safety protocol. In addition,residents were not educated on an emergency situation plan. They accidentally ran in the directionof the wind, increasing their exposure and were also unaware that simplycovering their faces with a wet cloth could have helped immensely. Outragebroke out immediately from both Americans and Indians. Americans were not onlyupset about the needless loss of life but also feared something similarhappening closer to home.This sparked subcommittees and action within the United States’ government. Theoutcome was a bill known as EPCRA, the Emergency Planning and Right to KnowAct. EPCRA is Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act(SARA), which was created in 1986.EPCRA showed that citizens had the right to know the chemicals being used bycompanies near them. This led to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), in whichall companies are required to divulge all information about the chemicals theyuse.The State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) was created on a state level tokeep citizens safe and respond to the information provided in the TRI.Republicanand Democratic support for the EPA and the Superfund has gone in waves.Initially, it was Republicans that championed the program and more funding forthe EPA, but by the late 1980s, the political polarity had reversed. From1989-1992, during the first Bush administration, environmentalists tried toexpand EPCRA through legislation, without much success. During the proceedingClinton administration, however, the EPA increased the number of chemicals andindustries that had to report to the TRI. Industry officials took everypossible measure to get out of this, and the subsequent Bush administrationtook input from stakeholders, who believed that companies were losing profitsdue to the regulations, and limited the companies’ burden of reporting.Data was first released in 1989, and was reported on by journalists andreporters. On average, the release led to negative returns on the day’s stockprice by an average of $4.1 million.Throughout the second Bush administration, the project faced gradual budgetcuts, which reduced enforcement and effectiveness.The subsequent Edgar Amendment required facilities to report releases andtransfers of chemicals with acute and chromic effects. This caused a decreasein pollution because the costs of reporting and the public scrutiny thatfollowed were high. In thecurrent political atmosphere, Republicans argue that the budget for the EPA istoo large and that the EPA stifles companies from free production and,therefore, harms the economy. Democrats see the EPA as necessary to protect ourcountry for pollution.TheSuperfund process has many multistage steps. The first part of the process isidentifying a contaminated site. From there, the identifiers determine if itwould be a good candidate for Superfund funding. The next step is the extensiveapplication process. Ifpreliminary assessment reveals that the site is significantly contaminated, it willbe listed on National Priorities List (NPL) and ranked according to the HazardRanking System (HRS), a key part of the EPA’s system. Next are remedial investigation and a feasibility study,remedial design, construction, NPL deletion, and finally site reuse. Manyexperts are part of each of these steps. The Remedial Project Manager overseesthe entire project and works with specialists and attorneys to find potentiallyresponsible parties. Hydrogeologists, work on the soil and water contaminationissues to make sure that they are contained as much as possible. Civilengineers locate potentially responsible parties for liability litigation. The Centerfor Disease Control (CDC) works to make sure that public health issues are keptunder control. Toxicologists and biologists assess and minimize the harm doneto nature. The Community Involvement Coordinator has one of the biggest roles –bridging the communication barrier between the public and the experts. Throughout,detailed records of decisions are kept and can be viewed by the public on theEPA’s website.Thereare debates on how the Superfund should be funded; however, most agree that itshould be funded with taxes on industry and directly by the companies thatcaused the damage. Originally in 1980, funding for the Superfund program was$1.6 billion, however, the amendments made in 1985 cut its funds.The Downey Amendment created a $10 billion taxes on polluters, $3.1 billion onpetroleum, $2.1 billion on chemicals, $2 billion on hazardous waste disposal,and $1.6 billion in general revenues.TheSuperfund’s budget currently comes from a variety of sources including theRecovery Act, responsible parties, and state cost-share contributions. In thefiscal year 2010 report, the Superfund “obligated $443 million in appropriatedfunds, state cost-share contributions, and potentially responsible parties…”for construction on Superfund sites. Three of the 18 sites that completed theconstruction phase in 2010 received money from the American Recovery andReinvestment Act of 2009,the act signed by President Obama in an attempt to fix the economic crisis,create jobs, and spur the economy. It is a fund that has a total of $787 billion.Allocation of Superfund resources is determined by a high HRS score and lengthof time on the NPL. In addition, state prioritization, non-federal sites, andfederal fund-lead sites have automatic priority.Costs / Benefits of Superfund: Theoverall criticisms of the program are its inefficiency, inaccuracy, and inequity.Criticsclaim that the process is inefficient because delays in cleaning up the sites,administrative deficiencies, and high transaction costs that are ultimatelypaid for by the EPA and not the responsible parties. In 2010 alone, the programconducted 261 five-year reviews, amended 24 cleanup plans, and issued 59explanations of significant differences at 53 sites.All of these actions, while important to the documentation of the program, takeaway from funds allocated to the actual remediation process. One of the root causes of theinefficiency stems from the intensely bureaucratic government. The term “dump-stumping”has been coined to describe when politicians visit a site solely to criticizethe Superfund program and get PR. Initially, when the Superfund program wassupported by Republicans, Democrats criticized it. The opposite is now true asdemocrats are more likely to support the EPA and its funding than republicans.Refutationsof the inefficiency claim state that the program did not really get off theground until 1987, which can explain deficiencies in the number of totalSuperfund sites remediated. In general, critics tend to focus on the number ofsites cleaned up (or not), however, it is really the decrease in health riskthat should be emphasized. This focus on number of sites gives the EPAincentive to fix the easiest sites rather than to take action where the moneywould have the biggest impact.Theinaccuracy claim comes largely from the fact that the inventories areself-reported by the companies, which have a negative incentive in the directand indirect financial burdens.. In addition, risk assessments are subjective,and therefore biased. Scientists use bioassays, which often give conservativeestimates of environmental risk. They also use epidemiology, an assay thatmakes it hard to link observed risk with cause.Nonetheless,there were still clear benefits of the TRI program. It ultimately led to achange in chemical use to those that were less toxic, largely because ofstakeholder pressure. It helped reporters, journalists, activists, andenvironmental lobbyists delve deeper and make more accurate claims. It alsolead to the phasing out of CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons), an ozone depletingchemical that was the main cause of the “ozone hole.” The remediation of thishole was one of the greatest environmental successes of the 20thcentury. Thirty-three out of fifty participants in the program voluntarilyreduced their levels of pollution.Manysee the Superfund as a way to make companies “internalize externalities”.As pollution data goes public, companies reduce their more dangerouspollutants, especially in areas of greater voter turnout. However, pound ofpollution is an inaccurate way to quantify success because chemicals have awide range and intensity effects. This is something that the general public isusually uninformed about.Impactsof the Toxic Release Inventory were also felt. It took time and resources forcompanies to make the reports, and cost them money to change their chemicals.It took government resources to make the data public (which was difficultbecause of technology available at the time). Furthermore, the accuracy of thedata was still in question since companies were self-reporting. In addition,housing prices in neighborhoods near the plants dropped, effecting homeownersand the housing markets of the microcosm economies. Effects of the project are felt allaround, and the question ultimately becomes – is the Superfund worth it?Stillothers claim that the Superfund process is inherently unfair. The superfund cannot equitably fix thefact that some populations are more exposed to the toxic substances thanothers. Although most would assume that this refers to poorer parts of the nation,Superfund sites are actually found more often in wealthier towns. This may haveto do with the fact that industry was settled and made great financial profitfor the town and its workers while simultaneously polluting the area. It couldpotentially also be contributed to the fact that wealthier areas tend to spendmore money looking for contaminated sites and are more proactive in pushing forSuperfund status. In areas ofhigher median income, on average it takes more time between the proposal and finalNPL status. Also, sites are less likely to have removal actions and areassociated with larger planned cleanup obligations. This may also be attributed togreater citizen involvement.Oneof the biggest controversies of the program is the liability issue. The EPAstates that if negligent and fault is found on the part of the defendant, theyare strictly held to the funds of cleaning up the site; however, many worrythat it actually tax dollars paying for the doings of these highly profitablecompanies. One of the unique properties of the Superfund is that companies canbe found liable even for actions that took place before the Superfund wascreated. Each of the polluters can be liable for the cost to clean up theentire site.The Superfund’s performance measures including the following:· Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)· Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use (SWRAU)· Human Exposure Under Control (HEUC)· Groundwater Migration Under Control (GMUC)· Final Assessment Decision (FAD)· Construction Completed (CC)· EPA Strategic PlanThe latestSuperfund accomplishments report was issued after the fiscal year 2010 andshows a long list of the programs successes. In 2010, the Superfund reducedhuman exposure to harmful chemicals at 18 sites, exceeding the annual goal,which was set at ten, and mitigated contaminated ground water by 18 as well,surpassing the annual goal of 15. They claim that this brings the total numberof significantly remediated Superfund sites to 1,338! It is estimate that 1.3million acres of land have been remediated to the point of safety to people andthat over 455,800 acres are ready for use. The construction phase was finished at18 sites, bringing the total for that to 1,098, or 67.5% of all NPL sites. Bythe end of 2010, there were 1,627 final and deleted sites.On the other side of the spectrum, the Superfund is a continuing andever-growing process. In 2010, 20 new sites were added to the NPL. There are also many contaminated sitesthat are not listed and more that have yet to be discovered.There are forty Superfund sites listed in the city of Philadelphia, andmany more in the greater Philadelphia area. Philadelphia was rated the mosttoxic urban area by Forbes magazine in 2011and was on the bottom of Sperling’s water rating list with a score of just 13%. Many of the superfund sites in the Philadelphia area areformer landfills that did not have proper containment and liner systems. Somesignificant sites include the Bridgeport Rental and Oil Services, which was listedin 1984 and is currently in the final fazes; the Ryeland Road Arsenic, a sitelisted in 2004 at which ferns were used for bioremediation; and the VinelandChemical Company, Inc., which was funded by the Recovery Act. The PalmertonZinc Superfund Site is one ofthe relative success stories of the Philadelphia area. The area in CarbonCounty, PA along the Appalachian Trail at the top of Blue Mountain wasre-vegetated and is on track to return to its natural habitat.TheEast Tenth Street superfund site is a 36-acre plot in an industrialized area ofMarcus Hook, PA, which was proposed to the NPL in January of 1994. The site wentthrough multiple stages of ownership starting in 1910 when the American ViscoseCompany produced Rayon and then switched to cellophane in 1958. From 1963-1977,the FMC Corporation produced cellophane as well and then handed a parcel of theland over to Envirosafe Services. The parcel was then purchased by the Marcus Hook Processing Inc., a subsidiaryof Envirosafe. This 4.25 acres of contaminated land has now gone throughmultiple environmental assessments. One of them, conducted by the PennsylvaniaDepartment of Environmental Resources (PADER), found employees excavating anunderground solvent storage tank farm that consisted of thirty tanks anddisposing of the contents on the bare soil of the site.A 1990 investigation showed tanks, leaking transformers, and asbestos withinand outside of the site’s buildings. In 1990, an EPA evaluation revealedasbestos, PCBs, and other hazardous materials that had been mishandled duringthe demolition. They also discovered a sludge filled tunnel on one of the lots.The soil contains PCBs, asbestos, heavy metals, and other organic contaminants,the sludge filled tunnel contains chloroform, cadmium, and mercury, andsediments in the creek contain PCBs. The EPA website concludes that “Touchingor ingesting contaminated groundwater, soils, surface water, or sediments posesa health risk.” Despite thefact that the site is located next to the Marcus Hook Creek, a state-designatedarea for the protection of aquatic life, the site is still not listed on theNPL and hardly any remediation has been done. This site represents a failure ofthe Superfund program. Attempts to talk to the EPA site’s listed CommunityInvolvement Coordinator failed and other sources told me that it was notpossible to receive any further information on the site.Onthe other end of the spectrum, the most recent NPL listings is the former MetroContainer Corporation in Trainer, Delaware County, which was added on March 13,2012. The site has a lagoon that was used for industrial purposes for severaldecades by multiple companies. The property is now owned by an industrialpainting company, Trainer Industries, which uses it for storage.It has been an industrial site since the19th century. From 1920 to1959, the site was used as a chemical manufacturing plant by Stauffer ChemicalCompany. In 1991, owners of theMetro Container Corporation, a steel drum reconditioning plant, pled guilty tocharges that they had dumped hazardous waste and discharged contaminated waterinto Stoney Creek. However,Metro had filed for bankruptcy in 1987, so liability funding for the site iscomplicated. The unlined lagoonwas filled with soil and artificial fill materials, which did nothing toprotect the surrounding area from contamination. The soils are now contaminatedwith PCBs, inorganics, PAHs (Polyaromatic hydrocarbons), and VOCs (volatileorganic compounds). Assessment reveals that there is potential to contaminatethe tidal flats of the Delaware and the river itself.AlexMendell, the Community Involvement Coordinator for the Metro ContainerCorporation Superfund site in Trainer described himself as the liaison betweenthe scientists and community members, a translator of sorts between thetechnical and laymen terms. He finds his job “rewarding, although oftendifficult because I does my best to remain transparent to the communitymembers.” When asked whether there was a community push to put the site on theNPL, he responded, “The public is always a part of the process – we visited thesite a number of times and communicated with members of the community duringthe proposal.” He emphasized the value of one-on-one communication and wentdoor to door to talk with as many residents as possible. In Trainer, the mayorlives right in the community, which, Mendell says, made communication easier.He made fact sheets and hosted open houses. They also use a CIP – CommunityInvolvement Plan, a comprehensive plan that highlights questions about bettercommunicating information to the community. His thoughts on efficiency includedthe importance of social media and learning how to better engage with it in thefuture. Overall, Mendell has seenthat the public is relatively aware of the project’s details, the site, and theremediation plan – thanks in most part his own outreach efforts.Oneof the best measures of success is the public perception of the program,especially since the Superfund was born from public discontent with governmentresponse to hazardous materials. The Joel Best sociological model of framing separates a topicinto four main components: experts, activists, media, and politicians, and thenanalyzes the issue from each of these angles. All four of these then influence the general publicperception of the issue. Experts believe that the Superfund is a thoroughprocess. Activists generally believe that it is too slow, however, this isinherent in the role of activists, because people only stand up when they feelsomething is wrong. The media hardly gives the Superfund any attention becauseit is such a slow moving issue. When there is a dramatic change or if theactivists make a big enough splash to garner some attention it is generallycovered with a negative tilt. Asfar as politicians, currently democrats are in favor of the EPA, andextrapolating would be in favor the Superfund, while republicans are againstit, saying that it hurts business and that the EPA is overfunded. These fourperspectives reveal the two common sentiments of the general public – ignoranceand negativity.Inan interview with “Chris,” a responder for the Superfund General InformationHotline, they receive a “decent number of calls from citizens, who are motoften looking for information on sites in their community.” When asked aboutthe average level of knowledge possessed by callers, her responded that“Education varies, some have done a significant amount of research and want toget involved, and others have just found out that there is a site in theircommunity and are curious to learn more.” However, he also mentioned that thehotline does not have any additional information from what is on the extensivepublic EPA Superfund branch of their website. He did also indicate that,despite this fact, the hotline is efficient because many citizens do not knowhow to navigate the website and it is a useful venting location for people whoare frustrated and want to complain.There is no formal tracking devise for complaints, so the public may see thehotline as a waste of taxpayer dollars.Thenext interview was conducted with “Dawn,” a librarian for the Superfundprogram. She was willing to share her personal opinion on the Superfund. Hermain points were that funding is not always available and that many sitesinvolve significant controversy stemming from residents skepticism ofremediation’s interference and the slow speed of the program. She stresses thateach site is different: often funding is not available and communities vary intheir involvement. There is also significant difference between federal sitesand those that are privately owned.Overall,the documentation of the Superfund Program, and the incredible about of detailavailable to the public, is remarkable. The website and hotlines keep theprocess as transparent as possible – a major feat for a government-run program.However, there are several components that could be made more efficient.Streamlining of the litigation and liability process, while difficult, wouldsave a significant amount of money and time. In addition, the national generalhotline is likely repetitive and a waste of resources. Overall the program issuccessful at doing what it was set up to do – remediate sites – however, thisdoes not solve the ever-growing problem of industrial contamination. Stricterregulations must be put on companies to prevent further damage to the UnitedStates. A major coup of industrial lobbyists in Washington is absolutelycrucial to making sure that the Superfund is a success. 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