Hazardous Waste and Superfund Sites

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Strain on Superfund At its inception, Superfund was initially asked to identify and clean-up hazardous waste sites. However, thirty years later the United States is facing additional new threats to the health and safety of the American people. The Superfund sites themselves are becoming “nightmares to deal with, due to disturbances and damage caused by extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change” (Treadman, 2010). The EPA website states, “hazardous waste sites can discharge and release large quantities of toxic substances when subject to flooding, tornados and hurricanes” (EPA, 2010). The additional costs of cleanup, and disruptions caused by extreme weather events have caused a tremendous financial burden on an already ailing…show more content…
Chemical manufacturers are also opposed to any new Superfund fees. They contend that chemicals found in waste sites are often used in everything from disposed plastics to public water treatment facilities (LaGrega, Buckingham & Evans, 2001). Chemical industry insiders say that billions of dollars have been invested by the industry to pay for responsible clean-up of toxic waste, and should Congress reinstate a Superfund excise tax, companies would shift jobs overseas. Moving jobs overseas would undermine a hoped for economic recovery in the manufacturing sector in the United States (Eilperin, 2010). Conclusion Originally, the Superfund excise tax was intended to generate a stable stream of revenue for toxic waste cleanups. The main targets were sites that were abandoned by companies that had faded or fled from the scene (Lester & Rabe, 2008). Lately, the fund has been stretched to the limits with a series of unforeseen natural disasters, and because the fund has run out of money it is unable to deliver on its original intended purpose. With the lack of funding, the government (taxpayers) is footing the bill, and the pace of cleanups has slowed dramatically. Last year, the EPA worked on 19 toxic waste sites which is down from 89 ten years earlier (LaGrega, Buckingham & Evans, 2001). While there is no doubt that the Superfund program is facing a budget crunch, and
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