Congress must reinstate Polluter Pays Tax to speed up toxic waste cleanups

The United States has a toxic waste problem. But as financial burden for cleaning up that waste has shifted primarily to taxpayers, cleanups are lagging behind.

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Henry Hintermeister
Creative Associate

Author: Henry Hintermeister

Creative Associate

 

Started on staff: 2019
B.A., magna cum laude, Tufts University

Henry grew up in southern Maine, where he developed his love for hiking, kayaking and track & field. He currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with his girlfriend and enjoys getting together with family, reading fiction, listening to NPR and playing soccer.

The United States has a toxic waste problem. But as financial burden for cleaning up that waste has shifted primarily to taxpayers, cleanups are lagging behind.

One in 6 Americans lives within three miles of a toxic waste site hazardous enough to be approved or proposed for cleanup under the federal Superfund program. But a dearth of funding has led to a dropoff in cleanup completion rates, found "Superfund Underfunded," a report compiled by our research partners at U.S. PIRG Education Fund. 

Superfund received a major financial blow in 1995, when Congress failed to renew the Polluter Pays Tax — a tax on the petroleum and chemical industries which originally funded the Superfund Trust.

"Congress’ failure to reinstate a Polluter Pays Tax that would speed the cleanup of these sites is a choice to prioritize industry’s bottom line over the lives of Americans," said Jillian Gordner, Make Polluters Pay campaign associate with U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

U.S. PIRG is calling on Congress to reinstate a Polluter Pays Tax.

Read more.
Read about our Make Polluters Pay campaign.

Photo: Congress failed to renew the Polluter Pays Tax in 1995, stripping the federal Superfund Trust of vital funding. Credit: markzvo via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Get involved
Make polluters pay to clean up toxic waste sites

Tell your legislators to prioritize cleaning up toxic waste in our communities by reinstating a Polluter Pays Tax in the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program.

Henry Hintermeister
Creative Associate

Author: Henry Hintermeister

Creative Associate

 

Started on staff: 2019
B.A., magna cum laude, Tufts University

Henry grew up in southern Maine, where he developed his love for hiking, kayaking and track & field. He currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with his girlfriend and enjoys getting together with family, reading fiction, listening to NPR and playing soccer.