EPA Money for NJ’s Superfund Sites, While Trump Cuts the Program
The EPA has awarded $1.2 million to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to assess, investigate, track and oversee cleanup work at sites contaminated with hazardous substances. Since New Jersey has the most sites of any state on EPA’s federal Superfund list, we believe this funding does not go far enough to address our problems. New Jersey has 114 active federal Superfund sites, as well as 35 additional sites that have been removed from the program. While they are giving out this money, President Trump’s budget, would cut the EPA’s funding by 31 percent, including cutting Superfund by 30 percent. The President’s budget request would eliminate 3,800 EPA employees, which comprise 20% of the agency’s workforce. There are 46 EPA programs that would be completely eliminated. Jeff Tittel, Director of New Jersey Sierra Club released the following statement:
“EPA giving New Jersey $1.2 million is desperately needed because of all of the problems we have with our 114 Superfund sites. We have more Superfund Sites than any other state and most people live within 10 miles of one of these sites. This money is supposed to help us assess these sites, but it is really pennies on the dollar for what is needed to do the job. It will not fix our serious problems with toxins leaching into the ground impacting our drinking water. We believe the Trump Administration is just using this money for cover. This is because in the proposed Trump budget they want to cut the Superfund Program by 30 percent. These cuts will have devastating impacts to our clean water and public health. By cutting funding for toxic cleanups and Superfund Sites, what Trump is doing is poisoning people with more toxins in our soil, water and homes. Not funding the Superfund program will lead to clean up delays, more toxins going into ground water and neighborhoods threatening human health. EPA is giving some money for the DEP to access toxic sites, but in reality there is no money to test our drinking water and make sure our health isn’t being threatened.”
“Scott Pruitt is clearing working in lock step with President Trump to declare war on the environment. This is really about public relations for Scott Pruitt than promoting environmental protection. With New Jersey having the most Superfund sites in the nation, we need to fund the Superfund program to adequately clean-up toxic sites and make sure polluters pay their fair share. New Jersey has over one thousand sites waiting to be listed, but this money will not do anything to help these sites get cleaned-up. Polluters have used our state as a dumping ground for years and we have 35 sites that still need monitoring. These sites contaminate our drinking water and release hazardous chemicals into the environment.”
“Monitoring is not a cleanup and should not be used as an excuse to clean up the site, but that is what they want to do so they can protect polluters over public health. Without funding, there will be more pollution in the ground impacting communities around the sites. This will impact areas from Ringwood to the Raritan Bay to Toms River and Camden. DEP just putting more sites on a list will do nothing to protect our health and environment.”
“Instead of repealing the law that created the EPA, Trump is working to dismantle the agency by going after the budget. These cuts will mean that there will not enough personnel to make sure our water is safe to drink, our land is clean, our air is breathable, and New Jersey’s 118 Superfund Sites are cleaned-up. Without funding Superfund, the people living near toxic sites will continue to suffer. Sites that are waiting to be cleaned up will not get the funding like Pompton Lakes. Even the weak clean-up plans that they want to cap like the Ford Superfund Site and the Passaic River won’t even be implemented because Trump will freeze all work being done. This is all part of Trump’s attack on the environment so he can take care of corporate polluters. We must continue to stand up to the Fossil Fool in the White House and make sure our environment is protected for the next 47 years.”
The EPA Press release can be found below:
EPA Provides New Jersey with Nearly $ 1.2 Million to Assess Contaminated
Sites and Oversee Superfund Cleanups
(New York, N.Y.— August 15, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded close to $1.2 million to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to assess, investigate, track and oversee cleanup work at sites contaminated with hazardous substances. New Jersey has the most sites of any state on EPA’s federal Superfund list, which contains some of the nation’s most hazardous sites that are in need of cleanup. New Jersey has 114 active federal Superfund sites, as well as 35 additional sites that have been removed from the program. The NJDEP has approximately 14,200 known contaminated sites in its inventory of sites that are potentially in need of some cleanup work, some of which may ultimately reach the level of consideration for the EPA’s federal Superfund list.
“I am committed to ensuring the Superfund program is a priority of this agency, and that cleanup is carried out in both a timely and efficient way,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Cleaning up these sites will lead to a cleaner environment and provide tangible benefits to local communities across the country, including those affected in New Jersey.”
Of the $1,165,000, EPA funding in the amount of $765,000 will allow NJDEP to screen and assess sites in NJDEP’s “Immediate Environmental Concern” inventory, a subsection of its overall site inventory. This specific inventory is a database of contaminated water supply wells and indoor air cases caused by releases of hazardous substances. The EPA funding will support NJDEP’s investigations of the sources of contamination of water supplies and indoor spaces. Sites that warrant further investigation will be placed and prioritized in EPA’s national tracking and reporting database for possible follow-up action.
Horseshoe Road Superfund Site in Sayreville, NJ. An example of a site where the NJDEP technical staff assisted the EPA in the oversight of investigative and cleanup work. Photo courtesy of U.S. EPA.
EPA is also granting $400,000 to the NJDEP to continue its supporting role in the studies, design work and cleanup of federal Superfund sites in New Jersey. This includes assistance and oversight of investigation and cleanup work being done by the EPA or by the parties potentially responsible for the contamination.
For more information on the Superfund program, please visit https://www.epa.gov/superfund.