Make Polluters Pay

Toxic waste cleanups are lagging. We need polluters to pay to clean up their messes.

The United States has a toxic waste problem. But as the financial burden for cleaning up that waste has shifted primarily to taxpayers, cleanups are lagging behind.

One in 6 Americans lives within three miles of a toxic waste site hazardous enough to be approved or proposed for cleanup under the federal Superfund program. Congress’ failure to renew the Polluter Pays Tax — which originally funded the program — led to a dropoff in cleanup completion rates, found “Superfund Underfunded,” a report by our research partners at U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

“Congress’ failure to reinstate a Polluter Pays Tax that would speed the cleanup of these sites is a choice to prioritize industry’s bottom line over the lives of Americans,” said Jillian Gordner, Make Polluters Pay campaign associate with U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

Activists and experts joined U.S. PIRG for a March 18 public forum to discuss the report’s findings and identify federal action that would ensure speedier Superfund cleanups.

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Watch the webinar.

Photo: Clockwise left to right: Jillian Gordner, Make Polluters Pay campaign associate with U.S. PIRG; Katherine Probst, independent consultant; Gustavo Andrade, organizing director for Center for Health, Environment & Justice; Danielle Melgar, director of Toxics campaigns at U.S. PIRG; and Ed Lorenz, community activist and emeritus professor of history and political science at Alma College, met over Zoom on March 18 to discuss findings from “Superfund Underfunded.” Credit: Staff 

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Polluters should pay for toxic waste cleanup. Tell your U.S. representative: Reinstate a Polluter Pays Tax in the Superfund toxic waste program.

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Henry Hintermeister
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