Homepage News Archive Superfund News

Plans to Place 47,000 Detainees on Superfund Site Nixed

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said there will be no relocation camps established in Concord or anywhere in California, at this time.
Concord’s Mayor sent a letter explaining that the acreage within the site is still undergoing assessment and cleanup of Navy contamination and is not suitable for transfer nor for human occupation. The city and the Navy have been working over the last 12 years through the BRAC [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][base realignment and closure] process.
The area currently has no useful infrastructure to provide water, sewer, or electricity. These concerns make it unsuitable for consideration. Read More.

Backyard Talk

Linking Antarctic Ice Melt to Coastal Flooding

A landmark study published this month in the science journal Nature combined the work of 80 scientists from 42 institutions including some of the leading experts in Antarctic climate research and concluded that Antarctica has lost nearly 3 trillion tons of ice since 1992. According to CBS News, this is enough water to cover the state of Texas 13 feet deep. While it is no surprise that the Antarctic continent is losing land mass, it is surprising to learn how quickly the ice has been melting.
Using decades of satellite measurements, the researchers found that that from 1992 through 2011, the Antarctic continental ice melted at a rate of 76 billion tons per year. Since that time however, the rate has jumped to 219 billion tons per year. This data indicates that the rate of ice melt has nearly tripled in the past 5 years.
The study provides extraordinary evidence of how and why Antarctica’ glaciers, ice shelves and sea ice are changing and triggering an increase in the continent’s contribution to global sea level rise. Warm ocean water is melting the ice shelves and causing them to collapse. This rapid melting of the Antarctic ice shelves is already having a serious impact on coastal cities, especially on the east coast of the United States. A recent editorial in the Washington Post warned, “As Antarctica melts, North America will take a particularly hard wallop. Melting ice shrinks Antarctica and, therefore, its gravitational field. Without as much mass pulling ocean water south, sea levels will rise farther north as the oceans redistribute … Coastal cities need to start preparing now.”
This concern was echoed in a report published earlier this year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which warned that high tide flooding will become routine by 2100. The report says that “high tide flooding will occur every other day (182 days of the year) or more often … in coastal areas along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.” NOAA recommended that coastal cites need guidance about flooding to inform preparedness and resource budgeting. Flooding affects low-lying areas and puts at risk exposed assets or infrastructure such as roads, harbors, beaches, public storm-, waste- and fresh-water systems and private and commercial properties. The report discusses how more and more cities are becoming increasingly exposed and more vulnerable to high tide flooding, which is rapidly increasing in frequency, depth and extent along many U.S. coastlines. Dramatic coastal flooding events have already become common events in the Mid-Atlantic States, the Carolinas, Florida and the Northeast.
The Antarctic study is the second in a series of assessments planned by a team of international scientists working with NASA. This study is unique in that the research team looked at ice loss in 24 different ways using 10 to 15 satellites, as well as ground and air measurements and computer simulations. The data generated by multiple measuring techniques were evaluated and the differences reconciled until the group came to agreement on the estimates.
While the Washington Post commented that the study “produced findings that even the most circumspect critics of climate science should not be able to ignore,” many climate deniers will still choose to ignore this report. There is consistently new and overwhelming evidence that climate change is impacting many lives and economies. It’s good that many cities and states can see the handwriting on the wall along with the water line left by the receding flood water and are taking action.

Superfund News

Superfund News

This is where updates on the Superfund campaign and related stories will be published.


Is Radium Being Spread on Your Roads?

Radium has been widely spread on Pennsylvania roadways without regulation: Study

200 times more of the carcinogen has been released into the environment through legal road brining than has as a result of oil and gas industry spills.
 Wastewater from the oil and gas industry that’s being spread on roadways to control dust and ice in at least 13 states, including Pennsylvania, poses a threat to the environment and to human health, according to a study released this week. Read more.
Homepage News Archive

EPA hears call for racial justice in New Bedford Harbor

Residents told EPA about a long-standing lack of job training in New Bedford for racial minorities, including jobs doing EPA-run Superfund work. Other large Superfund sites around the country have job training for local residents, but New Bedford does not. Read more.

Backyard Talk

Superfund 101

The threats that toxic waste sites pose to human and environmental health are serious and urgent, and research done on Superfund site cleanup has shown that proper cleanup can mitigate the risk of serious health issues and help revitalize ailing local economies.
However, the program went bankrupt after the Polluter Pays Fees expired in 1995. With limited funds the program has limped along for decades. Today we have a chance to pass legislation that would reinstate the polluters pays fees and protect public health and the environment through a robust clean-up plan.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), more commonly known as Superfund, was passed in 1980 in response to the Love Canal disaster in New York and the Valley of the Drums in Kentucky, with the ultimate purpose of addressing the serious threat to public health that toxic waste sites pose via cleanup of the sites; the entity responsible for seeing out this purpose is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are three main ways in which cleanup can occur: (1) the party responsible for pollution is identified and then tasked with cleaning up the site, (2) the EPA cleans up the site using money from the established trust fund and then recovers the cost incurred from cleanup from the responsible party, and (3) in orphan sites – sites where the responsible party no longer exists or has been found to no longer be liable – the EPA pays for the cost using money from the established trust fund.
When CERCLA was initially enacted, this aforementioned trust fund was created using money collected from Polluter Pays Taxes – taxes that were imposed on oil and chemical companies. In 1995, Congress allowed these taxes to expire. As a result of this expiration, this trust fund (that had at one point generated almost $2 million per year between 1993 and 1995) was completely deplete of funds by 2003. Without Polluter Pays Taxes, the Superfund program has fallen into a financial shortage and become less effective at cleaning up sites. Additionally, the program has become reliant on taxpayer dollars for funding, with the GAO reporting that 80% of Superfund costs were funded by general revenue between 1999 and 2013.
This same GAO report also outlines the ways in which the Superfund program has suffered since the fund ran out of Polluter Pays Tax money. Between 1999 and 2003, there has been a 37% decline in number of remedial action completions, an 84% decline in number of construction completions, and a significant increase in time taken to complete each project (from 2.6 years to 4 years). Based on these findings, not only are taxpayers now paying for the Superfund program, but they are paying for a less efficient Superfund program.
This program is essential to cleaning up contaminated land and mitigating exposure to toxicants, and while Scott Pruitt’s EPA has made clear that they would like to give more focus to Superfund, it’s difficult to give the Superfund program the true attention it needs without proper financial backing. Many legislators have attempted to introduce bills that would reinstate Polluter Pays Taxes, however these attempts have been so far unsuccessful. The most recent attempt made by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), entitled the Superfund Polluter Pays Restoration Act of 2017, would reinstate and raise the Hazardous Substance Superfund financing rate; no actions have been taken on this bill since its introduction.
It is urgent that everyone calls their legislators and ask them to support the Superfund program. Please take a moment today to contact your representatives and ask them to sign onto Senator Booker’s Superfund Polluter Pays Restoration Act of 2017 (S. 2198).

Backyard Talk

Get Lead out of Water Now!

water water everywhere

It is the law that we send our children to school, if we don’t we can be arrested, but there is no law that protects our children from drinking water contaminated with lead while at school. Dating back early 1970’s and the first major lead-based paint legislation that addressed lead-based paint in federal housing not a lot of attention has been paid to our children’s schools. Even though extensive and compelling evidence now indicates that lead-associated cognitive deficits and behavioral problems can occur at blood lead concentrations below 5 μg/dL (50 ppb). In 2012, the US National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health reported that, after other risk factors are accounted for, blood lead concentrations

We as parents would never knowingly allow our children to drink water contaminated with lead or any other contaminants, so why should we accept that some of our schools are indeed allowing this to happen? We understand that it will cost billions to bring our antique infrastructure to a point where we feel comfortable allowing our children to drink from a drinking fountain or eat food that has been made using contaminated water while at school. There can be nothing more important that our children and their intellectual future. Have we exposed children to the side effects of medication used for behavior problems but allow lead contamination in their drinking water?
There is no safe level of lead in our children’s water; our children deserve better than what our government has done so far on this issue. While the fight continues between our legislators, our nation’s children continue to go to schools with high lead levels in their drinking water. Call your legislators and tell them to correct this problem NOW!

Backyard Talk

Something in the Water?

Running faucet
Water is the most fundamental unit of life, necessary for the survival of every organism on earth. Despite the importance of this essential molecule, water resources across the United States are not treated with the appropriate level of care and precaution to protect public health.
As one of the most wealthy and powerful countries in the world, with access to the most advanced technology in existence, it is reasonable to assume that the US would be able to provide all its citizens with safe, healthy drinking water. Events like the tragic water crisis in Flint, Michigan should be just an isolated outlier, an ultra-rare disaster in a system that otherwise takes every action possible to minimize exposure to toxic contaminants. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and throughout the country lead-contaminated drinking water is afflicting communities both large and small.
Major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, that required lead plumbing be used up until it was federally banned in 1986, still struggle with these issues, with a recent Chicago Tribune article citing over a hundred homes with lead levels exceeding the EPA’s 15 ppb action level. The issue is often even more pressing for smaller communities that may lack the funding to comprehensively address these water quality issues.
In a 2018 article from the New York Times, Maura Allaire, a University of California, Irvine assistant professor argues that smaller communities often “fly under the radar”, suffering from atrophied infrastructure and challenged to meet water quality and treatment standards. That same article cites research showing that in the year of 2015 only, up to 21,000,000 US citizens were at risk of exposure to dangerous lead levels.
Lead ingestion endangers most systems of the human body and can lead to kidney issues, reproductive problems, brain damage, and ultimately death. No amount of lead exposure is safe for humans, and even below the action level of 15 ppb set by the EPA, human health issues can occur, especially for pregnant women and children under the age of 6. At such critical stages of physical and mental development lead is even more hazardous, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends water below 1 ppb lead for young children.
Given the severity and pervasiveness of the issue, it would seem common-sense to protect America’s kids from lead poisoning. Only 7 states, however, require that schools even test for lead in their drinking water (California, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Maryland, Illinois and Virginia). While CHEJ is currently working to address this obvious political failure, there’s something that everyone can do. H.R. 5833, or the Get the Lead Out of Schools Act of 2017 is currently awaiting a decision in the House of Representatives. If you want to protect people from exposure to hazardous chemicals such as lead, contact your local representative and demand that they focus on this issue, and do their part to guarantee the safety of American children.
Take action and contact your representative to act on the Get the Lead of Schools Act.

Media Releases

Polite People Get Poisoned

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_youtube id=”” width=”600″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=”” class=””][fusion_content_boxes settings_lvl=”child” layout=”icon-with-title” columns=”1″ icon_align=”left” title_size=”” title_color=”” body_color=”” backgroundcolor=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_radius=”” iconcolor=”” circlecolor=”” circlebordercolor=”” circlebordersize=”” outercirclebordercolor=”” outercirclebordersize=”” icon_size=”” icon_hover_type=”” hover_accent_color=”” link_type=”” link_area=”” linktarget=”” animation_delay=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.1″ margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_content_box title=”” icon=”” backgroundcolor=”” iconcolor=”” circlecolor=”” circlebordercolor=”” circlebordersize=”” outercirclebordercolor=”” outercirclebordersize=”” iconrotate=”” iconspin=”no” image=”” image_width=”35″ image_height=”35″ link=”” linktext=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=””] Lois Gibbs delivers the keynote address at Building a Future Full of Hope and Promise: Improving Air Quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania on April 13, 2018.[/fusion_content_box][/fusion_content_boxes][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]