Environmental Remediation: Why Cleanup Is Worth the Cost and Who Should Pay

March 2022
Abstract

As of 2015, 73 million Americans live within three miles of a Superfund site. Superfund site cleanups have not been funded through excise taxes on petroleum since 1995 and instead are funded through annual federal appropriations of taxpayer dollars. The U.S. government should reinstate a similar tax to continue funding site cleanups but delegate the leadership to the state and local levels. Superfund sites contain toxic chemicals such as lead, benzene, and arsenic that can enter the air, water, and soil. Cleanups have positive benefits on public health, local economies, and equity. Financing these cleanups can be done at either a federal or state level, but the funding stream with the most benefits would be to tax environmentally harmful corporations and then provide this money through grants to the states for cleanup. This policy proposal aims to encourage alternatives to environmentally harmful products, raise money for environmental cleanup, and decrease the tax burden borne by American citizens.

Singer-2022-Environmental-Remediation

  • Julia Singer is a second-year Master of Public Policy student concentrating in environmental and cyber policy. She is originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, but spent the last few years living in North Carolina, where she earned a B.S. in marine biology with a minor in sustainability and a concentration in conservation from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Julia currently works at Oceana as a responsible fishing & shark campaign intern, and she has held previous internships with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, The Roosevelt Group, and Signal Group D.C. Julia is also a current Co-President of AU’s Climate and Conservation Policy Club and was a part of the SPA Graduate Student Council during her first year. After graduating, she hopes to continue working in fisheries management and specifically focus on bycatch reduction policy.