US EPA announces $1B program to clean 22 toxic waste sites News
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US EPA announces $1B program to clean 22 toxic waste sites

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Friday announced that there will be “superfund” projects to clean up 22 toxic waste sites across the US. These projects will receive $1 billion from the federal superfund program to help remove the backlog of hazardous sites.

Under the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure bill, the EPA was able to receive $1 billion in funding as part of a $3.5 billion deal. The fund will focus on areas that are contaminated with lead and other toxic solvents from poor and unsafe handling of chemicals, mainly from processing plants or landfills. 22 sites in 14 states and territories including Puerto Rico will receive funding for lead or groundwater contamination. Then, the sites will be repurposed for communities to benefit.

Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) in 1980, which drew attention to toxic waste sites and the risks posed to human and environmental health. This is the superfund which gives the EPA the means to clean up the sites.

Furthermore, with this fund the EPA intends to work through the National Priorities List (NPL) for the clean up. One of the worst sites is in Atlanta, Georgia, which has needed funds to clean up lead contamination.

Similarly, in Tampa, Florida, solvent contamination is threatening communities, impacting soil and groundwater. However, with the funding, the land is able to be revived and reused.

EPA claims that they are committed to the clean up projects in line with Biden’s Justice40 initiative to advance environmental justice and protect vulnerable communities. This follows the release of legal guidance by EPA in January on addressing disproportionate impacts of pollution on vulnerable groups.