Introducing The People’s Task Force on the Future of Superfund

Voices from Contaminated Communities Across the Country

 

The Trump Administration and newly-appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt claim they want to return Superfund cleanups “to their rightful place at the center of the EPA’s core mission.” However their actions speak differently: their proposed budget includes a 30 percent cut in funding to the Superfund.

Last month, Pruitt assembled a Task Force to provide recommendations for the future of Superfund. His memo raises major concerns about decreasing cleanup oversight, privileging corporate interests over public health, and a lack of community involvement.

We aren’t going to let him get away with this. We will not allow our voices to be drowned out by corporate interests. Superfund victims and activists from sites around the country have come together to create The People’s Task Force to advocate for our recommendations on the future of Superfund, based on our years of on-the-ground experience.

Representatives of 25 Superfund sites and 70 environmental organizations have signed on to the People’s Task Force, which we are releasing to local and national media outlets today.

“Scott Pruitt must advocate with the White House to reinstate the Superfund Polluters Pay Tax. The American taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for corporate wrong doing.” 

                                      – Lois Marie Gibbs, Love Canal Leader, Mother of Superfund, CHEJ Founder

Here are the People’s Task Force recommendations,  and a list of some of organizations that make up The People’s Task Force. Below are quotes from people living near Superfund Sites around the country.

So far, the Pruitt’s EPA has been markedly secretive. Unlike previous administrators, he has never made his schedule publicly available and ignores Freedom of Information Act requests. His Task Force has been similarly opaque: he has not disclosed who staffs the Task Force aside from Albert Kelly, a prior bank chairman with no environmental experience.

Furthermore, even though the 30-day time frame has expired, he has not released the Task Force recommendations or comments. Superfund cannot be lead like a business – decisions that affect the health of thousands of communities cannot be made behind closed doors by financially motivated industry stakeholders. This is why we have come together to publicly release our recommendations, and we urge Pruitt to act with integrity and do the same.

 

Quotes People’s Task Force Members 

(Here is a list of some of The People’s Task Force members.)

“Scott Pruitt must advocate with the White House to reinstate the Superfund Polluters Pay Tax.  The American taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for corporate wrong doing.”

Lois Marie Gibbs, Love Canal Leader and Mother of Superfund.

Center for Health, Environment & Justice

CHEJ.org

(703)-237-2249

chej2@chej.org

 

“Public health has to be the top priority in cleaning up toxic waste sites. The communities most affected by Superfund sites must be included in the process, but unfortunately that was not the case with Scott Pruitt’s Task Force.”

Robin Schneider (512) 326-5655

robin@texasenvironment.org

 

“Scott Pruitt’s plan to streamline the Superfund process in favor of cutting costs will lead to incomplete cleanups of contaminated neighborhoods, as demonstrated in the past at sites like MDI in Houston’s 5th Ward. Painted as a quick way to boost economic development, Pruitt’s recommendations are more akin to a fast track to injustice.”

Rosanne Barone (713) 337-4192

Rosanne@texasenvironment.org

Texas Campaign for the Environment

San Jacinto River Waste pits and other sites in Texas

 

“EPA leadership should prioritize the appropriate remedial solutions for sites on the NPL and assure the continued support from regional staff to local community members dealing with the hazardous situations.”

Josue Ramirez

Texas Low Income Housing Information Service

(956) 295-6868

Josue@texashousing.org

Texashousing.org

 

“A toxic plume is spreading through Pensacola’s drinking water aquifer because the Superfund Program is starved for money. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt must make polluters pay for cleanup though the Superfund Tax.”

Francine Ishmael, Executive Director

Citizens Against Toxic Exposure,Inc

(850) 432-2228

fishmael@cate.gccoxmail.com

Pensacola, FL

 

“We need a strong EPA with strong enforcement authority to ensure our Superfund Alternative Site cleanup will be protective of our health and our environment.  Now is not the time to cut either EPA’s enforcement authority or community involvement in ensuring the best possible cleanup.”

Marilyn Welker

People for Safe Water

937-484-6988

mwelker@ctcn.net

Tremont City Barrel Fill – Ohio

 

“The Tar Creek Superfund Site needs a strong EPA that is fully funded if it is to ever finish our three- decades long cleanup.”

Rebecca Jim

LEAD Agency, Inc.

(918) 542-9399

leadagency@att.net

Tar Creek Superfund Site

 

“Superfund is the only chance we have at getting the Waste Pits fully cleaned-up before a major hurricane strikes our coast. The parties responsible for the Pits don’t want to clean them up as the EPA has proposed and we need the EPA to hold the companies responsible to protect our environment and future generations!”

Jackie Young

San Jacinto River Coalition

(281) 608-6213

jyoung@txhea.org

San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site

 

“All Americans deserve the right to clean air and clean water. Hold corporate polluters accountable and give our children a healthy future.”

Michele Baker,

Founding Member, New York Water Project

(518) 461-7270

michele.baker@upstatewatergroup.com

 

“Public health and constituent welfare need to become the top priority in all Superfund legislation to ensure that inexcusable events like those which occurred in Sellersville, Pennsylvania won’t ever happen again.”

Gregory Bulfaro

Sellersville x 3 / Sellersville Truth

(267) 227-8433

gbulfaro@aol.com

 

“Scott Pruitt’s plan to streamline the Superfund process in favor of cutting costs will lead to incomplete cleanups of contaminated neighborhoods, as demonstrated in the past at sites like MDI in Houston’s 5th Ward. Painted as a quick way to boost economic development, Pruitt’s recommendations are more akin to a fast track to injustice.”

Rosanne Barone

Texas Campaign for the Environment

713-337-4192

rosanne@texasenvironment.org

San Jacinto River Waste Pits

 

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The Center for Health, Environment and Justice has been on the frontlines in the fight for environmental health for 40 years. We train and support local activists across the country and build local, state and national initiatives that win on issues from Superfund to climate change.

 

People’s Action Institute is a national organization of more than a million people across 29 states working for economic, racial, gender and climate justice – with a goal of reversing the growing economic inequality by building an economy that expands opportunity for low-income families.