Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Sept. 30, 2020

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30-year low for toxic Superfund cleanups

Only 6 sites cleaned up around U.S. last year

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration completed the fewest cleanups of toxic Superfund sites last year than any administration since the program’s first years in the 1980s, figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency indicated Wednesday.

The federal government wrapped up cleanups at six Superfund sites around the country in the 2019 budget year, the fewest since three in 1986, EPA online records showed.

The Superfund program was born out of the 1970’s disaster at Love Canal in New York, where industrial contaminants poisoned groundwater, spurred complaints of health problems and prompted presidential emergency declarations. Congress started the Superfund program in 1980, with the mission of tackling the country’s worst contaminated sites to remove the threat to surrounding residents and the environment.

President Donald Trump campaigned on pledges to cut environmental protections he saw as unfriendly to business. In office, Trump has presided over rollbacks and proposed rollbacks of a series of protections for air, water, wildlife and other environmental and public health concerns, as well as sharp declines in many categories of enforcement against polluters.

The EPA posted the 2019 figures on its website earlier this month. The tally shows one cleanup completed so far this budget year.

The EPA press office on Wednesday acknowledged receiving questions about the 2019 figures from The AP but did not immediately respond.

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