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Congressional Record2017/3/15Senate | House | Extensions

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E329-E330]
From the Congressional Record Online through GPO




             INTRODUCTION OF THE SUPERFUND REINVESTMENT ACT

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. EARL BLUMENAUER

                               of oregon

                    in the house of representatives

                       Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, today, joined by 14 original cosponsors, I am pleased to reintroduce the Superfund Reinvestment Act. This legislation would provide much needed funding to clean up toxic waste sites throughout the United States and relieve the financial burden of cleanup that is currently shouldered by the American taxpayers.

There are more than 1,100 severely polluted Superfund sites across the United States that approximately 49 million Americans live within three miles of. These contaminated sites harm air and water quality and threaten the economic and social vitality of vulnerable communities. These communities can be exposed to toxins such as arsenic, benzene, PCBs, mercury, and a wide range of solvents, which can lead to health problems such as infertility, low birth weight, birth defects, leukemia, and respiratory difficulties.

The Superfund program was originally created in 1980 to clean up these contaminated sites help reduce exposure to the health risks and fears that come from living close to toxic waste. Unfortunately, at approximately 30 percent of Superfund sites known as orphan sites, those responsible for the pollution cannot be found or do not have the ability to pay, so instead the federal government foots the bill.

Originally, payments for orphan sites were financed through taxes on chemicals, petroleum, and corporate income, which were deposited into the Superfund Liability Trust Fund. This Fund ensured that those industries responsible for pollution pay for the remediation of sites where there is no responsible party. These taxes expired in 1995 and were not reauthorized. As a result, the Trust Fund has been depleted and the funding for the cleanup of orphan sites has shifted primarily to general funds.

The Superfund Reinvestment Act would reinstate taxes on the petrochemical industry to fund the cleanup of hazardous waste sites across the country. It would make sure that polluters, not taxpayers, are paying for cleanup of orphan sites. The bill includes excise taxes of $.163 per barrel on crude oil or refined oil products and taxes ranging from $.51 to $11.35 per ton on certain chemicals. The bill would reinstate a corporate environmental income tax of .12 percent on a corporation's modified alternative minimum taxable income that exceeds $3.735 million. This legislation would expand the definition of oil to include unconventional crude oil sources, such as tar sands and oil shale. This legislation also would guarantee that money from the Trust Fund is only spent on Superfund cleanups. [[Page E330]]

I urge my colleagues to join me in working to strengthen the Superfund program by ensuring that polluters continue to pay. With our environment at such a high risk, we need a fully funded Superfund program now more than ever. Restoring these taxes will go a long way towards making certain that funds are available to cleanup America's most toxic waste sites and to help keep our communities and our families safe, healthy and economically secure for future generations. ____________________



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