PALLONE REQUESTS EPA & DEP IMMEDIATELY DEVELOP TIMETABLE FOR CLEAN UP OF OLD SUPERFUND SITES
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent the following letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region Two Administrator Alan Steinberg requesting that EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) immediately work together to develop a specific timetable for the clean up of all Superfund sites in New Jersey that are more than 20 years old.
The New Jersey congressman's request comes in response to a report released earlier this month from the EPA's Inspector General that found neither agency has taken the necessary action to ensure progress on seven of the 38 New Jersey Superfund sites that have been on the National Priorities List for more than 20 years.
June 20, 2008
The Honorable Alan Steinberg
Administrator, Region 2
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2
New York, New York 10007-1866
Dear Regional Administrator Steinberg:
I am writing in response to a disturbing report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspector General that evaluated the management of backlogged Superfund sites.
As you know, New Jersey has 38 Superfund sites that have been on the National Priority List (NPL) for more than 20 years. The report indicated that EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection (DEP) did not use all the tools at their disposal to ensure that these sites were fully cleaned up. Consistent delays and lack of enforcement of environmental regulations led to major problems with the clean up of specific sites in New Jersey.
It is troubling that EPA and DEP did not do everything in their power to ensure all Superfund sites were being cleaned up in a timely fashion. The people of New Jersey expect and deserve EPA and DEP to strictly enforce environmental regulations in order to protect public health.
As a member of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Material, I am requesting EPA and DEP immediately coordinate and develop a specific timetable for clean up of all Superfund sites that are more than 20 years old. This agreement should also include strict enforcement mechanisms to ensure that polluters pay for clean up of these sites. Once finalized this agreement should be open to the public to ensure community involvement.
EPA should also immediately update, where appropriate, site profiles on EPA's public Superfund website. This information is critically important for a community's right to know about the progress of these Superfund sites.
This report is a chilling reminder that we need to be vigilant in the clean up of the nation's worst toxic waste sites. EPA and DEP should immediately come to an agreement on remediation of all sites that have been on the NPL for over 20 years, with strict timelines and enforcement mechanisms in place. Furthermore, EPA must immediately update all relevant information on their public Superfund website. In your response to this letter, Please provide a detailed description on how EPA plans to accomplish these goals.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Frank Pallone, Jr.
Member of Congress
C.C: Commissioner Lisa Jackson, NJ Department of Environmental Protection