Tell Congress: Clean Up Toxic Sites that Threaten Public Health and the Environment
Even before Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Coast we have been working to protect communities there from the legacy of toxic polluting facilities. Polluted sites such as the San Jacinto River Waste Pits pose enormous public health threats to our communities. Just as many predicted, disasters can spread the contamination. The EPA finally revealed that the flooding of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits caused the level of dioxin to soar more than 2000 times the “safe” limit for the deadly chemical. Harvey shows that the EPA and Texas need to get serious about cleaning up these sites.
In October 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt ordered the full removal of these dioxin-laden waste pits. The companies responsible have 120 days to respond and they are still pushing back. Congress should keep the pressure on the EPA to not back down.
This year, our U.S. Congress members will be voting on a budget for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Under the President’s proposal, the EPA’s budget could be cut by 31% — including 30% cuts to the Superfund program. Several other programs could be eliminated completely, including the environmental justice program, which seeks to provide resources to low-income communities directly impacted by pollution, the Diesel Emissions Reduction grants which combat air pollution, as well as climate change research.
Superfund is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s process for cleaning up legacy pollution sites. Spills from chemical storage facilities, wood treatment plants, hazardous waste disposal, and groundwater contamination from a plethora of industries are just some of the toxic Superfund sites that can be found in Texas. These sites are leaking known carcinogens and hazardous substances into soil, groundwater, and waterways – posing enormous public health threats to our communities. You can read about the history of the Superfund here.
We need Superfund enforcement to stop pollution
Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s appointed Administrator for the EPA and former Attorney General of Oklahoma, has said publicly that the Superfund process is critical to his agenda, and that he wants to make improvements to how it works. To that end, it is critical that the San Jacinto Waste Pits are cleaned up.
Your voice can make a difference putting pressure on the Congress and the EPA to finally get this toxic waste removed.
Contact EPA officials about holding firm on their order to have International Paper and the Waste Management subsidiary fully remove one of the most toxic Superfund sites in the Houston area, the San Jacinto Waste Pits.