Hearings - Statement
 
Statement of Frank R. Lautenberg
Hearing: Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health hearing entitled, "Oversight Hearing on the Federal Superfund Program’s Activities to Protect Public Health."
Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Madam Chairman, thank you for holding today’s oversight hearing on the Superfund program—which the current Administration continues to neglect.

My work to improve the Superfund program began in 1982. I got involved because New Jersey had the most Superfund sites of any state in the nation.

I believe in a pretty basic principle: Polluters – not everyday taxpayers – should pay for cleanups.

But based on their actions, it appears that the Bush Administration doesn’t share this priority.

This is the first Administration to oppose reinstating the Superfund tax on the oil and chemical industries.

Because of their opposition, taxpayers are paying to clean up the nation’s worst waste sites, rather than the industries that created these messes.

Cleanups under this Administration have plummeted from approximately 80 per year to 40. Now EPA estimates it will only cleanup 24 sites in 2007—and 30 in 2008.

That’s unacceptable.

Some witnesses on today’s second panel will detail how the Administration’s failure on Superfund has allowed cleanups in New Jersey to languish.

There are at least 15 toxic waste sites in New Jersey where people face uncontrolled exposure to contamination.

Many of these sites pollute the ground and surface water we rely on for drinking, swimming and fishing.

I am pleased that this Subcommittee is now conducting real oversight of the way EPA runs the Superfund program, to make sure it puts public health—not polluter profits—first.

I look forward to hearing from today’s witnesses—particularly our witnesses with ties to my home state of New Jersey:

· Bradley Campbell, former Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection; and

· Rena Steinzor, a former staff counsel for New Jersey Representative and Governor Jim Florio.

Thank you both for being here.”

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