The Environmental Protection Agency is deleting hazardous waste areas, known as Superfund sites, at its fastest rate in well over a decade.
The EPA announced on Wednesday that is has completely or partially erased 22 sites from Superfund’s National Priorities List in the 2018 — the highest number of deletions in 13 years. The quick pace indicates the Trump administration’s priority in cleaning up these hazardous waste areas.
“Under President Trump, EPA is deleting Superfund sites from the National Priorities List at the fastest pace in more than a decade,” EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a prepared statement. “This remarkable accomplishment is proof that cleaning up contaminated lands and returning them to safe and productive use is a top priority of the Trump EPA.”
Superfund sites — areas specifically designated for cleanup by the EPA — can contain a number of hazardous chemicals, such as lead, mercury and arsenic. The National Priorities List serves as an official tally of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. The agency launched the “Superfund Task Force” in May 2017 to provide recommendations for bettering and accelerating site cleanup operations. (RELATED: Hurricane Michael Could Leave Residents Without Power For Months)
The goal of the Superfund program is to fully clean these sites, helping the environment and allowing local communities to reclaim the land. A site is deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) when no further cleanup work is needed.
In the 2018 fiscal year, eighteen sites have been completely deleted from the NPL and another four have been partially deleted. These areas stretch all across the country, with restored sites located in Florida, Connecticut, Texas, Washington, Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and Mississippi.
“EPA is making good on its commitment to pick up the pace of Superfund cleanups so the sites can be restored to productive use,” EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp stated. “Promoting redevelopment is part of EPA’s core mission and helps spur the local economy in communities near Superfund sites.”
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