CONFERENCE OF MAYORS CALLS FOR ADDITIONAL SUPERFUND DOLLARS -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 10, 2004)
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, as the representative of a district which contains a number of abandoned industrial sites, I have a particular interest in the Superfund program. Sadly, the priorities of the congressional majority and the current administration do not include Superfund, and as a consequence, this important environmental cleanup program has been denied the resources needed to meet the promise we have made to many American communities.
In my own district there are three Superfund sites on which I have worked hard, and where we have made some progress, but where inadequate funding threatens to deny the people of the city of New Bedford and the towns of Fairhaven and Norton the full environmental response to which they are entitled by federal law.
This is a problem of national scope, as evidenced by the fact that the United States Conference of Mayors, one of the leading voices for sensible public policies in our country, recently passed a resolution at its 72nd annual meeting in Boston calling for "increasing appropriation levels for Superfund." The resolution notes the slowdown in remediation that is taking place because of the preference for tax cuts for the wealthy over important public needs, and urges us to increase the Superfund appropriation by $300 million a year for the next 5 years.
This is a very well informed and important statement from a group of thoughtful public officials who share with us the responsibility for public policy in this country, and I ask that the Conference of Mayors' very cogent resolution be printed here.
INCREASING APPROPRIATION LEVELS FOR SUPERFUND
Whereas, the Environmental Protection Agency has developed plans, designs, and records of decision for the remediation of large hazardous waste sites, many of them located in or near urban areas; and
Whereas, such plans, designs, and records of decision were developed at great cost and over many years, in close consultation with local and state governments; and
Whereas, EPA and its state and local partners have fielded teams capable of remediating such sites; and
Whereas, because of inadequate funding, actual performance of the agreed upon remedies has been put on hold, or slowed down; and
Whereas, because of inadequate funding some large sites, such as New Bedford Harbor, in New Bedford, MA, have been put on a 26 year cleanup schedule; and
Whereas, such a stretched out remediation is likely to greatly increase the ultimate cost of cleanup to the federal and state governments; and
Whereas, such a stretched out or delayed cleanup schedule is likely to undermine the feasibility of selected remedies, necessitating a new and expensive planning and design process in the future; and
Whereas, such delays perpetuate the public health and environmental threat posed by such sites; and
Whereas, delays in cleanup impose severe obstacles to economic development in many cities; and
Whereas, the money needs of many of the largest sites, which have been in the system for many years, have created a blockage in the system, interfering with EPA's ability to list new sites or to perform remedies at smaller sites; and
Whereas, the problems presented by large sites that are ready for construction can be resolved through an increase in appropriations for Superfund of $300 million a year for the next five years; and
Whereas, such an increase would actually reduce the cost of the Superfund program over time, and confer significant public health, environmental and economic benefits on many American cities.
Now, Therefore, be it resolved that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to increase the appropriation for Superfund by $300 million a year for the next five years, and to dedicate such increase to financing actual cleanup at ready to go sites.