EPA Supports Superfund “Polluter Pays” Provision

EPA sent a letter to Congress in support of reinstating the lapsed Superfund “polluter pays” taxes. Superfund is the federal government's program that investigates and cleans up the nation's most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites.

If reinstated, the Superfund provision would provide a stable, dedicated source of revenue for the program and increase the pace of Superfund cleanup. It also would ensure that parties who benefit from the manufacture or sale of substances that commonly cause environmental problems at hazardous waste sites, and not taxpayers, help bear the cost of cleanup when responsible parties cannot be identified.

“Since the beginning of this administration we have made it clear that we support the reinstatement of the polluter pays system for the Superfund program,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Our taxes should be paying for teachers, police officers and infrastructure that is essential for sustainable growth – not footing the bill for polluters. Today, we are formalizing our call to Congress to pass this important legislation and ensure responsible steps to keep our communities clean. In the meantime, EPA is taking action to better manage the Superfund program to increase cleanups and enhance transparency, accountability, and community input in agency decision-making.”

The Superfund taxes expired on Dec. 31, 1995. Since the expiration of the taxes, Superfund program funding largely has been financed from General Revenue transfers to the Superfund Trust Fund, thus burdening the taxpayer with the costs of cleaning up abandoned hazardous waste sites. The administration is proposing to reinstate the taxes as they were last in effect on crude oil, imported petroleum products, hazardous chemicals and imported substances that use hazardous chemicals as a feedstock, and on corporate modified alternative minimum taxable income. Under the administration’s proposal, the excise taxes and corporate environmental taxes would be reinstated for a period of 10 years beginning in January 2011.

More information on the Superfund program: http://www.epa.gov/superfund.

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