TRENTON – The fact that 27 contaminated sites in New Jersey have been left off the federal Superfund list does not sit well with one congressman.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) has sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson demanding to know why the toxic sites were not included in the agency’s Superfund program, which helps clean hazardous waste sites.
“As the most densely populated state in the country, it is critical that these sites be cleaned up to protect the environment and the health of all New Jersey residents,” Pallone wrote.
Pallone has introduced “The Superfund Polluter Pays Act” to reinstate taxes on the oil and gas companies that frequently create the toxic sites. Those taxes expired in 1995.
In his letter, Pallone pointed out there were 27 sites in the state that had a Hazard Ranking Score that would qualify them to be part of the Superfund National Priorities List but they are not listed and therefore not eligible for federal cleanup dollars.
“Of particular concern to me are five sites in Middlesex and Union counties that clearly pose significant risks to public health,” Pallone’s letter states. “I would like to know why these sites are not listed on the NPL despite clearly meeting the threshold in the HRS.”
He said with proposed cuts in the program in the upcoming budget, more needs to be done to protect the country’s air quality and to ensure toxic waste sites are cleaned up.
The EPA could not be reached immediately for comment.