Epa Proposes To Add 11 Sites To Superfund List
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed on Monday the addition of 11 new high risk hazardous waste sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).
Of the 11 sites proposed for listing, two sites are former mining sites, one site has significant drinking water contamination from unidentified sources, one site has significant water resource sediment contamination, and one site has residential soil contamination.
The sites present a wide array of contaminants, including lead, arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and volatile organic compounds.
The NPL identifies for the states and the public those sites that appear to warrant remedial action. If cleanup of these sites is eventually funded, the EPA will work with states, tribes, local communities and other partners to identify land reuse options and opportunities at these sites.
The 11 proposed sites are: Jacobsville Neighborhood Soil Contamination in Evansville, Indiana; Devil’s Swamp Lake in Scotlandville, Louisiana; Annapolis Lead Mine in Annapolis, Missouri; Picayune Wood Treating in Picayune, Mississippi; Grants Chlorinated Solvents Plume in Grants, New Mexico; Diaz Chemical Corporation in Holley, New York; Peninsula Boulevard Groundwater Plume in Hewlett, New York; Ryeland Road Arsenic in Heidelberg Township, Pennsylvania; Cidra Ground Water Contamination in Cidra, Puerto Rico; Pike Hill Copper Mine in Corinth, Vermont; Ravenswood PCE Ground Water Plume in Ravenswood, West Virginia.
With the 11 new sites proposed to the NPL, there are now 65 sites proposed and awaiting final agency listing determination.
But critics question the Bush administration’s commitment to the Superfund program and say site listings and cleanups have declined due to underfunding.
“Communities with toxic waste sites know that getting a site on the list is the first step in getting it cleaned up,” said Julie Wolk of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). “But EPA is listing fewer sites, and even those sites that are listed will not have enough money for cleanup.”
The issue of funding has emerged of late as the primary one facing the Superfund program. A recent report by the U.S. General Accounting Office found appropriations for the Superfund program – when adjusted for inflation – have fallen some 35 percent or $633 million since 1993.
Congress created a trust fund to pay for cleanups of nongovernment sites and devised a polluter pays tax to pay for those sites.
The polluter pays provision expired in 1995, when the trust fund was at a historic high of some $3.6 billion.
The trust fund is now empty and failure to revive the polluter pays tax has increased the share of the share of the program’s costs carried by the federal government from 18 percent in 1995 to 100 percent.
The Bush administration opposes reinstating the fees unless reforms of cleanup standards and polluters’ liabilities are enacted, a position environmentalists say mirrors that of industry.
“The Bush administration is letting polluting industries off the hook again and leaving regular taxpayers to pay the cleanup costs,” said Wolk. “Congress should reinstate Superfund’s polluter pays fees, re-fund the program, and start listing and cleaning up more toxic waste sites,” she concluded.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.