July 5, 2007
Superfund Investigation Profiles Top Companies Linked to Toxic Waste Sites
"Toxic waste still plagues American communities 27 years after the U.S. government created a program to identify and clean up the country's worst sites, according to a two-part investigation by the Center for Public Integrity. "Wasting Away: Superfund's Toxic Legacy" reveals the beleaguered state of the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund effort, uncovers the companies and government agencies linked to the most sites and tracks progress of the cleanup.
The Center's top overall findings:
- Nearly half of all Americans live within 10 miles of the 1,304 active and proposed Superfund sites listed by the EPA.
- Since the program started in 1980, fewer than one out of five sites has been cleaned up enough to be removed from the listing of the worst toxic waste sites.
- The amount of money EPA recouped from polluters annually to pay for cleanups plummeted from $320 million in 1999 to $60 million in 2006.
- EPA's 2007 target for "construction complete" sites – with systems in place to begin cleanup – was 40, but has been scaled back to 24. The 2008 target is 30 sites, according to the EPA's 2008 budget.
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