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Pallone & EPA Administrator Regan Announce Plan to Advance Clean Up of Superfund Site

August 26, 2021
Press Release

Old Bridge, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan today announced plans to advance cleanup of the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund site in Old Bridge Township and Sayreville. EPA will take over the completion of the remediation design plans for the Seawall Sector to ensure the remediation design is technically sound and the site can be cleaned up successfully.

“I’m proud to announce today that EPA now has a plan to take over the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund site, which will ensure it is properly cleaned up and that the surrounding communities have the peace of mind they deserve. This is a big day for the Old Bridge community, which will ultimately be able to use the space without fear of the health risks that come with living near a Superfund site,” said Congressman Pallone. “I’m grateful for Administrator Regan’s leadership and for taking the time to come to New Jersey today to see firsthand what’s at stake for our state as we continue to push for Superfund site cleanup. New Jersey’s ongoing challenges with Superfund cleanups is exactly why I pressed hard for the inclusion of my Superfund Polluter Pays Act in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I’m pleased that it would reinstate the Polluter Pays tax for many of the worst polluters, which is a historic step in the right direction. I know taxpayers are tired of footing the bill for cleanups, and I’ll continue to fight to ensure that corporate polluters are held accountable for the contamination they create.”

“Today’s action will allow us to move forward quickly and effectively for this Superfund site community,” said Administrator Regan. “I appreciate Congressman Pallone’s dedication to environmental protection and to our Superfund program. EPA’s Superfund program is about protecting people’s health. We must address the high lead levels that are the legacy of using slag to build walls and jetties; and we must not lose sight of the fact that this critical work impacts the availability of a treasured local resource – the beach.”

“The Murphy Administration is committed to ensuring the cleanup of National Lead’s contamination within the Raritan Bay estuary, and the State is grateful for the partnership of US EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Congressman Frank Pallone in this important pursuit,” said New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette. “U.S. EPA’s actions will provide the tools we need to remove decades-old lead contamination that have polluted Bay sediments and closed areas to public access. This renewed partnership presents an incredible opportunity to enrich the communities throughout the Raritan Bay watershed as New Jersey continues to defend the public’s right to the full use and enjoyment of their natural resources.”

“On behalf of the entire Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners, I cannot thank the EPA enough for taking on this project. And we are grateful to Congressman Pallone for visiting the site and for his outstanding work in securing the support needed to help Middlesex County care for our parks and safeguard our residents. Today’s announcement is the result of the Congressman’s unwavering support of this project and his ongoing dedication to the people of Middlesex County,” said Board of County Commissioners Deputy Director Shanti Narra.

Pallone has been a longtime advocate for cleanup of Superfund polluting sites in New Jersey. An estimated 50 percent of the state’s population lives within three miles of a Superfund site. As a result of Pallone’s advocacy, the Raritan Bay Slag site was placed on EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List in 2009. In October 2016, Pallone announced $7 million in funding from EPA to begin the cleanup at Margaret’s Creek, part of the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund site. The area had elevated levels of lead contamination, as well as areas of slag, a byproduct of metal smelting, and battery casings. In April, Pallone re-introduced his Superfund Polluter Pays Act, which would ensure polluters pay for the cleanup of Superfund sites. The bill would accomplish this by reinstating the full extent of the Superfund taxes on corporate polluters that expired in 1995.

Pallone championed inclusion of his Superfund Polluter Pays Act in the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure deal, and while the final deal did not fully reinstate the tax, it would restore the tax for 42 chemicals and chemical imports including methane, butane, sulfuric acid, and ammonia. If passed by the House and signed into law, it would mark a crucial step forward toward ensuring polluters – not taxpayers – pay for the cleanup of the Superfund sites they create.

Background on the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund site is available here.