N.J. has the most toxic waste sites. Top Democrat wants to tax polluters to clean them up.
WASHINGTON — Companies responsible for dumping chemicals again would pay a special tax to clean up polluted sites under legislation introduced Thursday by a powerful New Jersey Democrat.
The tax would fall on corporations, especially those involved in manufacturing chemicals or petroleum products. Such taxes expired in 1995 and Congress has rebuffed efforts to restore them.
Chemicals leaching from the sites can pollute nearby streams, seep into drinking water and contaminate playground and yards.
“The American taxpayer should not be paying for the mistakes of corporate polluters,” said Pallone, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Superfund sites threaten public and environmental health in New Jersey and across the country, and those sites could be cleaned up faster with adequate funding.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., will introduce similar legislation in his chamber.
The demise of the Superfund taxes have left the federal government without a source of revenue to clean up sites where the companies responsible for the contamination have gone out of business or cannot afford to pay the costs.
That has led to an increase in sites, and forced taxpayers to pay cleanup costs, Pallone said.