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Public Statements

106 Members of Congress Urge More Money For Toxic Waste Cleanups

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


106 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS URGE MORE MONEY
FOR TOXIC WASTE CLEANUPS

Washington, D.C. --- Days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that cleanup of 34 Superfund sites will not be cleaned up this year due to a of lack of funding, a bipartisan group of 106 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to House appropriators asking them to fund Superfund cleanup at the level supported by the Senate. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $127 million more for Superfund cleanups in Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 than the House Appropriations Committee did.

U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Hilda Solis (D-CA), ranking Democrat on the House Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, initiated the letter to U.S. Reps. James Walsh (R-NY), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development (VA-HUD) and Independent Agencies, and Alan Mollohan (D-WV), the subcommittee's ranking Democrat.

In July, the House Appropriations Committee approved an FY 2005 VA-HUD appropriations bill that provided only $1.26 billion for Superfund cleanup, equal to the FY 2004 appropriated level. Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $1.38 billion for Superfund cleanup, $127 million more than the House and equal to the Bush administration's budget request.

"According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Senate level would fund cleanup construction projects at 10 to 15 additional sites across the country," the 106 members wrote in their letter to Walsh and Mollohan. "Given the significant number of Superfund sites ready to initiate actual cleanup activities, the Senate funding level should be the minimum considered when the conference committee decides on final allocations."

The 106 members of Congress believe increasing the Superfund allocation is especially important since expenditures have not been sufficient to meet cleanup needs in recent years. For two straight years, the EPA's Inspector General has found that inadequate funding has slowed the pace of cleanup at some sites and is preventing any activities from beginning at other sites. In FY02, this shortfall totaled $114.8 million, and in FY03 it totaled $174.9 million. For FY 2004, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Democratic staff found that the shortfall could reach $263.1 million.

Last week, in response to a request from U.S. Reps. John Dingell (D-MI), ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce committee, and Solis, EPA admitted that 34 Superfund cleanups went unfunded this past year due to a lack of funding. (EDITOR'S NOTE: A LIST OF THE 34 SITES FOLLOWS.)

"These shortfalls cannot continue," the 106 members continued in their letter. "Nearly one in four Americans lives within four miles of a Superfund site, including 10 million children under the age of twelve. Cleaning up these sites is a serious public health priority and should be considered as such when you determine final allocations in the FY05 VA-HUD Appropriations bill."

While neither the full House or Senate have approved a VA-HUD and Independent Agencies appropriations bill, it's expected that a Conference Committee will meet in the upcoming months to approve a giant omnibus bill that would combine VA-HUD and other appropriations bills.

Unfunded Superfund Projects
Altas Tack Phase 2 in MA
Atlas Tack Phase 3 in MA
Hatheway & Patterson in MA
Mohawk Tannery in NH
Ottati & Goss in NH
Elizabeth Mine Phase II in VT
Kaufman & Minteer in NJ
Roebling Steel in NJ
Standard Chlorine of DE in DE
Crossley Farm in PA
Franklin Slag Pile in PA
Havertown PCP in PA
Sapp Battery in FL
Brunswick Wood Preserving in GA
Marzone/Chevron in GA
Wrigley Charcoal in TN
Ottawa Radiation Areas 1,4, 9, 11 in IL
Continental Steel Corp. (CAMU) in IN
Continental Steel Corp. (Main Plant) in IN
Continental Steel Corp. (Markland Quarry) in IN
Mountain Pine Pressure Treatment in AR
Marion Pressure Treatment Company in LA
Hart Creosoting in TX
Jasper Creosoting in TX
Rockwood Industries in TX
California Gulch in CO
Central City/Clear Creek (Big 5) in CO
Central City/Clear Creek (Chase) in CO
Central City/Clear Creek (Gilpin) in CO
Summitville Mine in CO
Upper 10 Mile Creek (Tier 2) in MT
Jacobs Smelter in UT
Pemaco in CA
Bunker Hill (Wash Rec Areas) in ID

(EDITOR'S NOTE: A COPY OF THE LETTER AND A LIST OF THE 106 MEMBERS WHO SIGNED IT FOLLOWS.)


The Honorable James T. Walsh
Chairman Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies House Appropriations Committee
H-143 Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Alan B. Mollohan
Ranking Member Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies House Appropriations Committee
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Walsh and Ranking Member Mollohan:

We ask that as you work to conference committee on the Fiscal Year 2005 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, you support at a minimum the Senate-approved level of $1.38 billion for Superfund, which provides for cleanup of our nation's most polluted toxic sites.

As you know, the House Appropriations Committee has approved an FY05 VA-HUD bill that provides only $1.26 billion for Superfund cleanup, equal to the FY04 appropriated level. This is $127 million less than the level included in the Senate version, which was equal to the Administration's budget request. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Senate level would fund cleanup construction projects at 10-15 additional sites across the country. Given the significant number of Superfund sites ready to initiate actual cleanup activities, the Senate funding level should be the minimum considered when the conference committee decides on final allocations.

Increasing the Superfund allocation is especially important because expenditures have not been sufficient to meet cleanup needs in recent years. For two straight years, the EPA's Inspector General has found that inadequate funding has slowed the pace of cleanup at some sites and is preventing any activities from beginning at other sites. In FY02, this shortfall totaled $114.8 million, and in FY03 it totaled $174.9 million. According to a report by the Energy and Commerce Committee's Democratic staff, based on information from EPA officials, the shortfall will reach $263.1 million in FY04 -- meaning that 46 sites in 27 states have new start remedial actions that are not funded or will be inadequately funded. According to the Wall Street Journal ("Money Shortage Threatens Superfund," 9/7/04), the funding needed to restore the backlog of cleanups will grow to an estimated $750 million in two years.

These shortfalls cannot continue. Nearly one in four Americans lives within four miles of a Superfund site, including 10 million children under the age of twelve. Cleaning up these sites is a serious public health priority and should be considered as such when you determine final allocations in the FY05 VA-HUD Appropriations bill.

Thank you for your consideration of our request.
Sincerely,

Frank Pallone, Hilda Solis, Jerrold Nadler, Dennis Moore, Adam Smith, Robert Menendez, Lloyd Doggett, Raul Grijalva, William Delahunt, Carolyn Maloney, Joseph Hoeffel, John Dingell, Anibal Acevedo-Vila, Sherrod Brown, Jim Marshall, Jay Inslee, Michael Michaud, Robert Andrews, Dale Kildee, Chris Van Hollen, Jim McDermott, Ed Markey, Mike Honda, James Oberstar, Lois Capps, Charles Gonzalez, Jan Schakowsky, Michael McNulty, Rush Holt, Fortney Pete Stark, Mark Udall, Diana DeGette, Donald Payne, Albert Wynn, Betty McCollum, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Blumenauer, Carolyn McCarthy, Henry Waxman, Grace Napolitano, Mike Thompson, Louise Slaughter, Tammy Baldwin, Timothy Bishop, Elliot Engel, Peter DeFazio, James Saxton, Frank LoBiondo, Christopher Smith, Tim Ryan, Christopher Shays, Jerry Costello, Rosa DeLauro, Juanita Millender-McDonald, Donna Christensen, Peter Deutsch, Sander Levin, Rob Simmons, Anthony Weiner, Barbara Lee, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Tom Lantos, Linda Sanchez, Tom Allen, Bernard Sanders, David Wu, Scott Garrett, Robert Wexler, Jim McGovern, Dennis Cardoza, Michael Ferguson, John Tierney, Ted Strickland, Martin Meehan, Howard Berman, Edolphus Towns, Gary Ackerman, Stephen Lynch, Bart Stupak, Lynn Woolsey, John Larson, Gene Green, James Langevin, Adam Schiff, Charles Bass, Jeb Bradley, Maxine Waters, George Miller, Zoe Lofgren, Silvestre Reyes, Rahm Emanuel, Shelley Berkley, Ellen Tauscher, Xavier Bacerra, Barney Frank, Tim Holden, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, Steve Israel, Karen McCarthy, Tom Udall, Alcee Hastings, Bill Pascrell, Luis Gutierrez, Mike Doyle and Bobby Rush

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