Booker Introduces Bill to Clean Up Superfund Sites
Resources for Superfund, other environmental cleanup projects should be part of any national infrastructure packageJuly 28, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a bill that would restore funding for the nation’s Superfund cleanup program to levels just above the program’s funding in the early 1990s (adjusted for inflation).
The Environmental Cleanup Infrastructure Act would provide just over $55 billion – or approximately five percent of any trillion dollar infrastructure package – to clean up toxic Superfund sites and eliminate the growing backlog of abandoned mines, defense and former atomic energy sites, and congested parts of our freight network that pose a serious public health risk to neighboring communities.
Allocating just five percent of any trillion dollar infrastructure package toward environmental projects would cleanup hundreds of Superfund sites.
“If President Trump is serious about rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure, he should make sure the Superfund program is included in that proposal,” Senator Booker said. “Rebuilding our roads, bridges, canals, ports, and waterways also means making sure those waterways aren’t polluted."
“Half of New Jerseyans live within three miles of a Superfund site,” Booker added. “The high levels of dioxin, mercury, arsenic, lead, and other chemicals found at these sites expose nearby residents to heightened risks of cancers, birth defects, and other serious health problems. Too often, these effects fall disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color. We need to give the Environmental Protection Agency the resources and tools it needs to do its job and address this public health hazard.”
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program cleans up extremely contaminated properties. While the number of sites on the Superfund’s National Priority List has increased by roughly one-third since 1999, federal resources have been cut by nearly 50 percent.
Trump’s proposed budget would do even further damage, slashing the Superfund program by 30 percent.
New Jersey has the most sites on the Superfund’s National Priority List of any state in the country.
The Environmental Cleanup Infrastructure Act would allocate $30 billion for the cleanup of Superfund projects, $10 billion for abandoned mine cleanup projects, $12.7 billion for Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS), $3 billion for Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP), and $1 billion for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) over 10 years.
Since his time as a City Council member and then as Mayor of Newark, Booker has seen first-hand the disproportionate impact that toxic Superfund sites, air pollution, and water pollution have on low-income individuals and communities of color. Newark has one of the highest rates of child asthma in the state of New Jersey. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control found that black kids are more likely to test positive for lead in their blood than white kids.
As Mayor, Booker championed the cleanup of the polluted Passaic River and helped lead the revitalization of over 15 acres of formerly off-limits riverfront property. In the Senate, he is also the sponsor of the Superfund Polluters Pay Restoration Act, which would reinstate the tax on crude oil and certain chemicals in order to provide funding for Superfund cleanups.