Statement from Lois Marie Gibbs:
Superfund was created following the Love Canal crisis in Niagara Falls, NY to primarily protect public health. I know because I was a resident and community leader at Love Canal. I found EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Superfund Task Force Report almost entirely void of public health concerns.
In fact, the report only mentions health six times with four of those in the Executive Summary. The report sounds like a blueprint to involve for bankers, investors and developers and a plan for corporations to reduce cleanup costs and increase profits at the expense of public health. Redevelopment is mentioned 39 times.
There is no mention of the public health risks that exist at these sites or that will be created during the cleanup of a site. The report begins by stating, “the core mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect the health of our citizens and the environment in which we all live.” Yet, there is nothing in this report that begins to address this mission. In fact, the report reads as if there are no people living around these Superfund sites, people who are sick and who care about protecting their children’s health.
Superfund sites are not islands unto themselves. Sites are connected to backyards, fence lines, drinking water sources and schools. Administrator Pruitt and those on the Task Force should be ashamed of their blatant disregard for public health and the innocent families whose health are impacted by these sites. They should reread the mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and throw this report into the recycling bin and start over.
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.
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice has been on the front lines 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.
By Gregory Kolen II. Environmental justice is an issue that affects everyone, but those who bear the brunt of it are often the most vulnerable