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Cutting Superfund’s Budget Will Slow Toxic Waste Cleanups, Threatening Public Health And Property Values

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By Katherine Kiel, College of the Holy Cross Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Love Canal crisis, when toxic chemicals were found to be leaking from an underground dump into homes in Niagara Falls, New York. State and federal agencies relocated more than 200 families out of the affected area. A state investigation later found elevated rates of birth defects among families who had lived at Love Canal. This disaster called public attention to health risks from improperly controlled toxic waste. In response, President Jimmy Carter signed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, into law in December 1980. Superfund has supported cleanups of toxic waste sites in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. But its funding decreased by nearly half between 1999 and 2013, and President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal calls for an additional 30 percent cut, despite EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s assertion that Superfund is “absolutely essential.” As an economist specializing in housing issues, including the relationship between toxic cleanups and property values, I have published several studies of Superfund sites

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Cutting Superfund’s Budget Will Slow Toxic Waste Cleanups, Threatening Public Health And Property Values

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