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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 1, 2002
12:01 PM
CONTACT:  Sierra Club
David Willett, 202-675-6698
Superfund Cuts Leave Communities with Toxic Waste and Taxpayers with the Bill
 
WASHINGTON - July 1 - The Sierra Club today expressed deep concern that the Bush Administration's plan to slash the Superfund cleanup program could leave dozens of communities exposed to dangerous toxic waste, and allow the polluters off the hook. In addition to eliminating cleanup funding completely at 33 sites, as reported in today's New York Times, the Bush Administration is reducing funding at another 15 sites, which will slow the pace of cleanup there. The lists of sites appear at the end of this release.

"Superfund cleanups are already running on fumes and if the Bush administration has its way, the program will be completely out of gas," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. "The Administration should be demanding that the polluters who made these messes pay for cleanup, but instead they're slowing down or stopping cleanups. The Bush administration is telling communities that have waited for years to get rid of toxic chemicals in their water and soil that they'll just have to wait some more."

More than 1,200 toxic sites that have not yet been cleaned up remain on the EPA's National Priority List of sites, and according to a study Congress commissioned from Resources for the Future, an estimated 23 to 49 new toxic sites could be added to the list each year.

The original 'polluter pays' funding mechanism that Congress enacted to pay for the Superfund program expired in 1995. The money accumulated in the Superfund Trust Fund has diminished greatly since then, and Superfund is expected to run out of money by 2004. As a result, individual taxpayers have been picking up more of the costs of the program. In 1995 taxpayers paid about 18 percent of program costs; in 2003 they will pay 54 percent of the costs.

The pace of completed cleanups has slowed dramatically in recent years. The EPA completed construction on only 47 sites in 2001, less than the 75 it had projected and far less than the 87 achieved in 2000. The rate of cleanups will continue to decline in the future unless Congress acts to increase funding.

This cleanup slowdown comes just as the Superfund funding should be reaching its peak, according to projections made in a 2001 report requested by Congress. That report, conducted under EPA contract by Resources for the Future, estimates that funding needs for FY 2000 through FY 2009 could range from $15.6 billion to $18.3 billion.

The 'polluter pays' mechanism, which expired in 1995, was supported by every President since it's inception, including President George H.W. Bush. But now, President George W. Bush opposes funding mechanism. The Sierra Club supports legislation in the House and Senate that would reinstate the polluter pays program.

"We applaud those members of Congress, including Senators Barbara Boxer and Lincoln Chafee and Representative Frank Pallone, who have introduced legislation to reinstate the same 'polluter pays' funding program that Congress authorized in 1986," said Pope. "We urge Congress to pass this legislation to help communities who have been living too long with toxic waste."

33 Sites Receiving No Funding in FY 2002
Source: US EPA Inspector General Report (06/24/02)

# NPL Site State

1 Vasquez Boulevard and I-70 CO
2 Solitron Microwave FL
3 Southern Solvents Inc. FL
4 Tower Chemical Co. FL
5 Trans Circuits, Inc. FL
6 American Creosote Works (Pensacola Pit) FL
7 Jennison-Wright Corporation IL
8 Continental Steel Corp IN
9 Central Wood Preserving Co. LA
10 Delatte Metals LA
11 Atlas Trac Corp. MA
12 Aircraft Components (D & L Sales) MI
13 Basin Mining Area MT
14 Upper Tenmile Creek Mining Area MT
15 10th Street Site NE
16 Hastings Ground Water Contamination NE
17 New Hampshire Plating Co. NH
18 Burnt Fly Bog NJ
19 Chemical Insecticide Corp NJ
20 Combe Fill South Landfill NJ
21 Montgomery Township Housing Development NJ
22 Rocky Hill Municipal Well NJ
23 GCL Tie and Treating Inc. NY
24 Hudson Refinery OK
25 Tar Creek OK
26 North Penn - Area 6 PA
27 Ross Metals Inc. TN
28 Hart Creosoting Co. TX
29 Jasper Creosoting TX
30 Rhinehart Tire Fire Dump VA
31 Tutu Wellfield Virgin Islands
32 Elizabeth Mine VT
33 Palermo Well Field Ground Water Contamination WA


Sites Getting Some But Not All of Its Requested Funding in FY 2002
Source: EPA Inspector General Report (06/24/02)

# NPL Site State

1 San Gabriel Valley (Area 1) CA
2 Denver Radium CO
3 Coleman-Evans Wood Preserving Co. FL
4 Bunker Hill Mining & Metallurgical ID
5 New Bedford Site MA
6 Eastland Woolen Mill ME
7 Carolina Transformer Co NC
8 Federal Creosote NJ
9 Roebling Steel Co. NJ
10 US Radium Corp. NJ
11 Vineland Chemical Co. Inc. NJ
12 Welsbach & General Gas Mantle (Camden) NJ
13 McCormick & Baxter Creos. Co. (Portland) OR
14 Northwest Pipe and Casting/Hall Process Co. OR
15 Gilt Edge Mine SD

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