[Extensions of Remarks]
From the Congressional Record Online through GPO
INTRODUCTION OF THE SUPERFUND REINVESTMENT ACT
HON. EARL BLUMENAUER
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.
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.