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EPA Announces New Cleanup at 11 Superfund Projects in Nine States
Release Date: 07/17/2003
Dave Ryan 202-564-7827 / email@example.com
(07/17/03) EPA today announced that to further protect public health of citizens living near hazardous waste sites, it will begin clean up at 11 new Superfund projects in nine states (Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Idaho). The new starts are in addition to the 450 sites currently being cleaned up under Superfund. Those 450 sites include 729 separate cleanup projects. To date, EPA has cleaned up 852 sites on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).
EPA’s FY 2003 Superfund budget for cleanup is approximately $277 million ($227 million from the fiscal year 2003 Superfund appropriation and an estimated additional $50 million from past appropriations). In addition to appropriations that fund the program, the Superfund law requires parties found responsible for polluting sites pay to clean them up. Due to the “polluter pays” structure of Superfund, about 70 percent of Superfund sites are paid for and cleaned up by private parties. Other sites are cleaned up by EPA, with costs recovered from private parties after the cleanup. EPA collected almost $250 million last year through cost recoveries. Consequently, most of EPA’s Superfund appropriation is devoted to “orphan” sites where the responsible parties cannot be found.
Among other criteria, the 11 new projects selected for cleanup were principally chosen based on the human health risks posed by the site. “The $277 million will allow us to begin new work at the top priority sites across the country and continue work on sites where cleanup has already begun,” said Marianne Lamont Horinko, EPA Acting Administrator. “I want to emphasize that we will monitor all projects, including those where cleanup will not begin this year, to ensure they do not pose any immediate risk to the people living nearby.”
According to Horinko, EPA’s ability to start cleanups at new sites is more constrained today than in the past, despite the fact that both EPA’s cleanup budget and the cleanup funds contributed by responsible parties have remained fairly constant. Appropriations from Congress for the Superfund program, which includes emergency removals, site assessment, site cleanup, enforcement, and administration, have remained between $1.3 and $1.5 billion since 1995.
“Our first priority is to continue work on sites where cleanup has already begun,” she said. “The Superfund program has made huge progress over the years. What we’ve got left on the NPL are large, complex sites. Ongoing cleanup work, which can take decades, is eating up a big chunk of the money available.”
At this time, 12 projects at 10 sites have not been selected to receive funding. However, all funding decisions announced today are not final, and the Agency will make another announcement at the end of the fiscal year after determining what remaining funds are available, Horinko said. Any sites not receiving funding do not pose immediate risks to human health and will be considered for funding next year, she added.
This year approximately 40 percent of EPA’s Superfund cleanup budget is dedicated to eight, complex Superfund sites. The Administration has requested a $150 million increase in its Superfund budget for fiscal year 2004 in order to accelerate cleanup at ongoing sites and begin long-term cleanup at new sites. “The additional money would allow us to continue momentum in the Superfund program and allow us to begin work at new sites that are awaiting cleanup,” said Horinko.
The 11 new projects that were selected for funding in fiscal year 2003 are:
- Vasquez Boulevard and I-70, Denver, Colo.
- Central Wood Preserving, East Feliciana Parish, La.
- Mallard Bay Landing Bulk Plant, Grand Chenier, La.
- Newton County MineTailings, Newton County, Mo.
- DeRewal Chemical Co., Kingwood Township, N.J.
- Fruit Avenue Plume, Albuquerque, N.M.
- Conroe Creosoting Company, Conroe, Texas
- Eureka Mills, Eureka, Utah
- Pownal Tannery, Pownal, Vt.
- Bunker Hill, Kellogg and Shoshone County, Idaho (two projects)
For more information on the sites, go to: https://www.epa.gov/superfund, although the material will not be posted till tomorrow.