Hazardous Waste and Superfund Sites

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Strain on Superfund
At its inception, Superfund was initially asked to identify and clean-up hazardous waste sites. However, thirty years later the United States is facing additional new threats to the health and safety of the American people. The Superfund sites themselves are becoming “nightmares to deal with, due to disturbances and damage caused by extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change” (Treadman, 2010). The EPA website states, “hazardous waste sites can discharge and release large quantities of toxic substances when subject to flooding, tornados and hurricanes” (EPA, 2010). The additional costs of cleanup, and disruptions caused by extreme weather events have caused a tremendous financial burden on an already ailing Superfund program (Lester & Rabe, 2008). Additionally, many large corporations have declared bankruptcy to avoid the cost of cleaning up their hazardous sites and simply have walked away leaving the American taxpayers holding the bag. In these circumstances, Superfund has paid the bill entirely with taxpayer money (EPA, 2010). With every new ecological disaster, the strain on Superfund becomes more significant. Since Congress has not reinstated fees on industry, any new disaster clean-up is paid for with emergency funding which inevitably comes out of the pockets of the public and adds to the already enormous deficit (Lester & Rabe, 2008). Superfund Proponents

Superfund's proponents state that the EPA must have the authority, and resources to clean up hazardous waste sites. Otherwise, the responsible parties will not be inclined to bear the cost of the clean-up. In these cases, the protection of public health and cost of damages to the environment would be left for taxpayers to fund (Lester & Rabe, 2008). Other Superfund proponents contend that lately Superfund has become a program which focuses on the design and construction of clean-up methods. Proponents state that the program needs to spend more time on cleaning up...
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