Superfund at 25 Faces Funding Challenge: Poll Says Citizens Shouldn’t Pay

Share Article reports that a majority of environmental professionals don’t think it should be citizens’ responsibility to pay for Superfund cleanups.

As EPA marks the 25th anniversary of Superfund,, the website that makes environmental compliance easier, reports that a majority of environmental professionals don’t think it should be citizens’ responsibility to pay for the program.

When asked the question “Should taxpayers’ money contribute to Superfund?” 72 percent of respondents said that it was not the responsibility of the average citizen. By way of comparison, 22 percent responded affirmatively, saying “the money has to come from somewhere,” and 6 percent were unsure. There were 173 respondents to the survey.

“The biggest challenge Superfund faces is funding,” said Steve Quilliam, managing editor of

In 1995, Congress allowed the Superfund tax authority law to expire, meaning that fees and taxes on companies responsible for chemical releases were no longer collected to fund the cleanup program. In 2003, the Superfund Trust Fund finally ran out of money.

For the past 2 years, Congress has authorized $1.2 billion each year to pay for cleanups where the polluter was bankrupt, refused to pay, or could not be found.

“Based on the fact that environmental professionals themselves don’t believe the current structure is fair, and considering where funding is at this point, I think industry can count on an eventual return of some type of Superfund tax,” Quilliam said. “Time will tell what form that tax takes.”

In 1980, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was signed into law. Commonly known as Superfund, CERCLA directed EPA to address abandoned, accidentally spilled, or illegally dumped hazardous waste that posed current or future threats to human health or the environment. Since its inception, construction work has been completed on 966 private and federal Superfund sites.

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Old Saybrook, Conn.-based BLR produces plain-English compliance and training resources for HR, compensation, safety, and environmental managers. For more information, call 800-727-5257 or visit

Contact: Managing Editor Steve Quilliam

860-510-0100, x2148

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