Pallone Seeks to Strengthen Superfund Program with Robert Spiegel of Edison Wetlands Association at Hearing
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sought to strengthen the Superfund program with Robert Spiegel of the Edison Wetlands Association at an Environment and Economy Subcommittee hearing. As co-founder of the non-profit Edison Wetlands Association (EWA), Mr. Spiegel has worked as EWA’s Executive Director since 1989. EWA’s mission is to protect the environment in Central New Jersey and beyond through action, education and public awareness. Pallone and Spiegel both stressed the importance of providing adequate funding for the program.
According to EPA, cleanups through the National Priority List and Superfund Alternatives program have brought human exposure to contaminants under control at over 1,400 sites around the nation. Funding for these cleanups has dropped dramatically since the Superfund tax expired in 1995, meaning fewer cleanups are started and even fewer are finished because the program is now funded with general tax revenues.
“Without a dedicated trust fund, these Superfund Sites continue to discharge highly toxic chemicals into drinking water, streams, rivers including our homes, parks and schools,” said Spiegel. “Any objective observer can see why New Jersey is the poster child for why we need to reauthorize the modest ‘Polluter Pays’ fees and where the EPA’s mission could not be more apparent or necessary. The federal government is failing the American people and we cannot delegate any programs to the states, especially cleaning up leaking hazardous waste sites.”
Pallone has been fighting for years to reinstate the Superfund tax so that polluters once again pay the costs of cleaning up our most contaminated sites. This Congress, Pallone introduced H.R.2783 - Superfund Polluter Pays Act, which would reauthorize the original Superfund fees and make polluters, not taxpayers, pay the costs of cleaning up Superfund sites.
“We must provide the program the resources it desperately needs,” said Pallone. “Congress needs to reinstate the "polluter pays" taxes so those industries most responsible for polluting our land and water are held responsible for cleaning up our toxic legacy, a legacy that severely affects New Jersey and many other states around the nation. This is only fair. Restoring the ‘polluter pays’ principle to this program would reduce pressures on the federal budget and lead to faster cleanup of these toxic and dangerous sites.”