Congress must reinstate Polluter Pays Tax to speed up toxic waste cleanups

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

The United States has a toxic waste problem. But as 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. But a dearth of funding has led to a dropoff in cleanup completion rates, found "Superfund Underfunded," a report compiled by our research partners at U.S. PIRG Education Fund. 

Superfund received a major financial blow in 1995, when Congress failed to renew the Polluter Pays Tax — a tax on the petroleum and chemical industries which originally funded the Superfund Trust.

"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.

U.S. PIRG is calling on Congress to reinstate a Polluter Pays Tax.

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Read about our Make Polluters Pay campaign.

Photo: Congress failed to renew the Polluter Pays Tax in 1995, stripping the federal Superfund Trust of vital funding. Credit: markzvo via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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Make polluters pay to clean up toxic waste sites

Tell your legislators to prioritize cleaning up toxic waste in our communities by reinstating a Polluter Pays Tax in the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program.