Show your support for a Superfund program that cleans up sites effectively today, and doesn't just pass the problem along to our children.
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Stephen Johnson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dear Administrator Johnson:
I have just reviewed data on Superfund sites and ongoing disposal of
toxic chemicals on land, as shown on the Environmental Defense
Scorecard (www.scorecard.org). While I recognize that the pace of
Superfund cleanups has accelerated dramatically in recent years, I am
concerned that too many remedies now fail to require actual treatment
of wastes to make them less toxic and less mobile. According to EPA
figures, only about 30% of cleanups now involve treatment. At the
least, EPA should always require treatment of toxic "hot spots" at
Superfund sites. EPA should also assure that cleanups keep clean
groundwater from getting dirty, and restore contaminated groundwater
I am also concerned that too many cleanups rely on "institutional
controls" of questionable effectiveness. With institutional controls,
contaminants are allowed to remain on the site, and use of the site is
restricted through zoning, deed restrictions, or other legal devices.
While this approach makes for cheaper cleanups today, it simply shifts
threats to tomorrow if the institutional controls break down. Recent
studies indicate that many local governments believe that their ability
to track and enforce institutional controls is limited. EPA should
only rely on institutional controls that are recorded in an easily-
tracked central location, that apply to all future owners of the land,
that are fully enforceable by citizens as well as government agencies,
and that are acceptable to the local community.
Please keep me informed on your efforts to assure that sites cleaned
up today don't come back to haunt us and our children tomorrow.
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