Superfund sites in potential path of Hurricane Elsa

Media Contacts

U.S. PIRG, Environment America, and Frontier Group

WASHINGTON — As Hurricane Elsa prepares to strike Florida and then careen up the East Coast, U.S. PIRG, Environment America and Frontier Group — all part of the Public Interest Network — are sharing information that will help your readers and viewers contextualize what’s going on with regard to major environmental and health concerns.

Elsa, the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season, following four tropical storms, is expected to make landfall in Florida early Wednesday morning. Using forecasts as of Tuesday, July 6, at least nine Superfund sites are in Elsa’s path, and the majority of these are on or near the water, making them even more vulnerable to flooding (map of Superfund sites here)

Flooding of these sites can result in toxic substances finding their way into the waters that stream into nearby communities. For example, after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, more than 190,000 barrels of oil spilled in Louisiana, and during Hurricane Harvey, 40 sites released hazardous pollutants. This contamination persists in the environment for years, threatening human and environmental health.

Our most recent data and graphics on potential environmental, health and consumer dangers created by hurricanes — and the flooding that follows:

New report about Superfund sites.

Materials about coal ash.

Materials about fracking waste pits.

Materials about animal waste lagoons.

Materials about toxic waste facilities.

Materials about oil trains and pipelines.

Materials about nuclear power plants (from Hurricane Florence, Sept. 2018).

Consumer tip sheet (from Hurricane Laura; August 2020).

The following experts from across the Public Interest Network are available to provide quotes and background for your coverage:

Coal ash sites, hog manure lagoons, fracking ponds, oil and gas pipelines and other water pollution:

John Rumpler, [email protected], runs Environment America’s clean water program. He directs our work to protect our rivers, lakes, streams and drinking water. He has co-authored several research reports, including Accidents Waiting to Happen: Toxic threats to our rivers, lakes and streams. John has also testified before Congress on enforcement of clean water laws. His current efforts include defending the Clean Water Act, curbing pollution from factory farms, and working to “Get the Lead Out” of drinking water. He’s appeared on camera for CBS This Morning, among other outlets. He’s also been interviewed by such outlets as U.S. News and World Report, Bloomberg and WebMD.

Superfund and other toxic waste facilities:

Danielle Melgar, [email protected] is U.S. PIRG’s toxics campaign advocate. She works to protect our health and the environment, overseeing U.S. PIRG’s programs to clean up toxic Superfund sites, protect public health from toxic chemicals in personal care and beauty products, and reduce the use of pesticides and other public health threats. She has spoken extensively to the media on these and other public health topics. 

Nuclear sites; and the connection between climate change and hurricanes:

Tony Dutzik, [email protected], is associate director and senior policy analyst with Frontier Group, a public policy think tank, where he has authored dozens of reports on a wide array of topics, including climate change. His work on nuclear power includes supervising the production of Too Close to Home, which highlighted the risk to drinking water supplies of a Fukushima-type accident in the United States, and contributing to Frontier Group’s response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. A former journalist, Tony has been featured in reports by such media outlets as The New York Times, Financial Times and The Economist.

Consumer protection concerns:

Teresa Murray, [email protected] is director of the Consumer Watchdog program with U.S. PIRG. She has written or overseen reports and analyses on topics including price gouging during emergencies, toxic consumer products and scams targeting consumers. She’s passionate about educating people about predatory tactics they may face when they’re vulnerable. Prior to joining PIRG in 2020, Teresa worked as a business journalist and consumer columnist for more than 20 years for Ohio’s largest daily newspaper. Her work with PIRG has been featured by media outlets including CNN, The New York Times, NPR and the Los Angeles Times.


Carolinas Impact:

Drew Ball, [email protected], is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment North Carolina. During Hurricane Florence, Drew provided interviews and information to several national and local media. In his role, Drew promotes clean air, clean water, clean energy and open spaces in North Carolina. Prior to assuming his current role, Drew served as director of government relations for North Carolina’s Sierra Club. Drew has been quoted widely both on-camera and in print articles. He has spoken extensively to the media on these and other environmental topics.

Florida Impact:

Jenna Stevens, [email protected], is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment Florida. In her role, Jenna promotes clean air, clean water, clean energy and open spaces in Florida through grassroots organizing and direct advocacy. Jenna has worked to defend federal and state climate and clean water protections, expand clean, renewable energy in Florida and protect the Florida coastline from offshore drilling. She also serves as the water team co-chair for the Everglades Coalition. Jenna has been quoted widely both on-camera and in print articles. She has spoken extensively to the media on these and other environmental topics.

Bill Newton, [email protected], is the deputy director of the Florida Consumer Action Network, an affiliate of the Public Interest Network. Bill, who is based in the Tampa area, is an expert on insurance issues including life, homeowner’s, auto and insurance fraud. He’s testified multiple times to the Florida Legislature on insurance issues. He is on the board of the Consumer Federation of America. He has wide-ranging experience as a media spokesman and has been through two hurricanes and several tropical storms. 

Georgia Impact:

Jennette Gayer, [email protected], is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment Georgia. Jennette has run successful campaigns to designate Georgia’s first outstanding national resource water along the headwaters of the Conasauga River, expand parks along the Chattahoochee River and Jekyll Island State Park, and stop construction of three new coal-fired power plants in Georgia. She’s also an advocate for solar policies. She serves on the leadership team for the Georgia Water Coalitionand is co-chair of the Georgia Solar Energy Association. She has appeared on both television and radio and has been quoted in numerous major regional publications.

Virginia Impact:

Elly Boehmer, [email protected], is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment Virginia. In this role, she works to promote clean air, clean water and special places in Virginia through direct advocacy and grassroots organizing. Elly has worked to defend federal and state climate policies, expand clean, renewable energy in Virginia and protect coastal resiliency programs. Elly has engaged the media around these and other issues in Virginia.