New Inspector General Report Shows Critical Need for Congress to Pass Pallone Legislation Reestablishing Superfund Tax
Long Branch, NJ --- U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), a senior Democrat on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, today once again called on President Bush and the Congressional Republican leadership to bring up his legislation that would reestablish the Superfund tax after a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspector Generals report showed a funding shortfall of $174.9 million in the Superfund program during Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 that dramatically slowed the cleanup of 29 sites around the nation, including the Roebling Steel and Welsbach Superfund sites in New Jersey.
According to the Inspector Generals report, the Roebling Steel project in Florence was underfunded over the past year to the tune of $5 million, while the Welsbach project in Camden saw a funding shortfall of $7 million. Pallone said these funding deficiencies for two projects already in the remedial stage could seriously delay the completion of the cleanup.
"The Inspector Generals report once again shows that its simply impossible to clean up our nations Superfund sites in a timely fashion without reinstating the Superfund tax," Pallone said. " Families living near these Superfund sites should no longer have to endure the adverse health affects created by pollution at these sites simply because the Bush administration and the Republican leadership in Congress side with the corporate polluters and refuse to address the problem."
For the second consecutive year, the EPA Inspector General has documented enormous funding deficiencies, which undermine the protection of public health and the environment. Last years report was requested by Pallone and U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell requested the report released today with U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), and U.S. Sens. James Jeffords (I-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
Last year, Pallone introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives reinstating a Superfund tax that would ensure polluters pay for all Superfund cleanups rather than taxpayers. The Hazardous Substances Superfund Trust Fund tax, which required chemical corporations to pay a tax used by the federal government to clean up sites where either a responsible polluter could not be determined or had gone bankrupt, was allowed to expire in 1995 when a Republican controlled Congress refused to extend it.
Pallones legislation reinstates a 9.7 cents a barrel tax on petroleum, a tax on 42 chemicals and a corporate environmental income tax of .12 percent of taxable income in excess of $2 million to be contributed to the Superfund Trust Fund for five years.
EDITORS NOTE: You can access the entire report at https://www.epa.gov/oigearth/.