Newsroom: Press Releases
Lautenberg Introduces Legislation to Ensure Polluters Pay to Clean Up Toxic SitesLautenberg Press Office (202) 224-3224
Thursday, March 25, 2010
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today introduced the Polluter Pays Restoration Act to reinstate fees that would ensure polluters, instead of the public, fund the cleanup of Superfund sites. Lautenberg is the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health, which has jurisdiction over the Superfund program.
“Cleaning up our nation’s most toxic properties keeps our children safe, revitalizes local economies, and creates thousands of jobs,” stated Lautenberg. “Right now, hardworking Americans are paying the cleanup bill for messes made by irresponsible companies. It’s time to shift the financial burden away from taxpayers, and back to the industries that contaminate these properties.”
Originally signed into law in 1980, Superfund is the federal program for the clean-up of hazardous waste sites. At the heart of the law is the commitment to ensure that the polluters and industries responsible for contamination, and not the general public, pay for the cleanup. The Bush Administration shifted the burden of funding the Superfund from polluters to taxpayers when it allowed the trust fund to go bankrupt in 2003.
The Polluter Pays Restoration Act will reinstate the Superfund fee on oil and chemical companies as it existed prior to its expiration. Currently, taxpayers bear the financial burden of cleaning up sites where the parties responsible for the pollution cannot be found or no longer exist. Restoring this small fee on chemical manufacturers, oil companies, and other businesses will ease the burden on taxpayers, speed cleanup and revitalization of blighted properties, and create jobs. President Obama has proposed reinstating the polluter pays fee in his FY2011 budget, which will generate over $1.3 billion in annual revenue.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).