Funding Superfund

What is the Polluter Pays Principle?

The Polluter Pays Principle is the concept that those responsible for creating pollution should also be financially responsible for damages done to the environment as a result of the pollution. This principle is utilized around the world as a way to prevent damage to human and environmental health; some examples of the Polluter Pays Principle in the US to include the Gas Guzzler Tax and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for motor vehicles.

Until 1995, the Superfund program also included Polluter Pays taxes, which were pooled into a trust fund that helped pay for the cleanup of Superfund sites. Despite bipartisan support, as evidenced by Reagan, Bush, and Clinton all seeking an extension of the taxes, Congress allowed the Superfund Polluter Pays taxes to lapse in 1995. The trust fund, which at one point was making almost $2 million per year between 1993 and 1995, was completed depleted of funds raised by the Polluter Pays tax by 2003.

Crude Oil and Chemical Taxes

Without Polluter Pays taxes, the Superfund program has become largely reliant on taxpayer money; according to a 2015 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, taxpayers cover 80% of Superfund costs. To shift the financial responsibility of Superfund site cleanup away from taxpayers and back to those responsible for the pollution, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Superfund Polluter Pays Restoration Act of 2017. By raising more funds for the Superfund program, this legislation would hopefully allow the program to work more effectively and efficiently.

If enacted, this bill would make the following changes:

  1. Reinstate the Hazardous Substance Superfund financing rate
  2. Increase the tax rate* from 9.7 cents to 15.8 cents per barrel of crude oil Reinstate and increase the rate of taxes* on taxable chemicals**
  3. Modify the definition of “crude oil” to include any bitumen or bituminous mixture, any oil derived from such mixture, and any oil derived from kerogen-bearing sources

*Adjust for inflation after 2018

Put the Super back into Superfund

Want to see polluters pay for their messes rather than taxpayers? Contact your representatives and tell them to support Senator Booker’s bill: Superfund Polluter Pays Restoration Act of 2017 (S.2198).

Contact Your Represenative
  • fire 2018

St. Louis, MO Landfill Busts into Flames Again!

November 8th, 2018|Comments Off on St. Louis, MO Landfill Busts into Flames Again!

Flames shot to the surface from the burning fire below from the Bridgeton Superfund site landfill. It was 5:30 in the evening, when people were sitting down to dinner and sirens could be heard throughout [...]

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Local Residents Trained for Jobs at CO Superfund Site

October 9th, 2018|Comments Off on Local Residents Trained for Jobs at CO Superfund Site

15 Pueblo-area residents graduated from the EPA’s Superfund Job Training Initiative program on September 27th. Graduates of the program now have the necessary skills to be considered for future jobs with the environmental contractors cleaning [...]

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Air near Bridgeton Landfill may have harmed people’s health

September 26th, 2018|Comments Off on Air near Bridgeton Landfill may have harmed people’s health

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has determined that past exposure to sulfur-based compounds in the air near the Bridgeton landfill may have harmed the health of area residents and workers.  Read more.

  • superfund

EPA Assessing Toxic Threats in Hurricane’s Path

September 14th, 2018|Comments Off on EPA Assessing Toxic Threats in Hurricane’s Path

The EPA assessing the vulnerability of at least 40 toxic waste sites that could be damaged by Hurricane Florence in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. But that review does not include dozens of inland [...]

Put the Super back into Superfund