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Associated Press Wants You to Believe the Trump Administration Ignores America's Most Contaminated Sites

02/20/2020
Contact Information: 
Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (Feb. 20, 2020) - The Associated Press is back at it again skewing their reporting demonstrating their bias against the Trump Administration. In their latest piece on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund Program, they fail to acknowledge and understand the nature of the good work being done day in and day out across the country to clean up the nation's most contaminated sites. Rather than presenting a correct account of EPA's Superfund Program, the reporter cherry-picked statements that fit her preset narrative and ignored the facts provided to her by the agency.

Here's what AP conveniently left out of their story:

Cleaning up Superfund Sites has been and remains a top priority of this Administration. Many of the sites currently on the National Priorities List (NPL) are very large, complex and technically challenging and often require numerous construction projects that are frequently phased in over many years. "Construction complete" means that all remedial construction projects have been completed at the site but not that cleanup is complete. For example, after a water treatment plant is constructed, it may operate for many years to treat the contaminated water.

Over the last three years, there has been a significant increase in the number of ongoing construction projects, demonstrating the large amount of field work that is ongoing.

A site cleanup is complete when it is deleted from the NPL. Under President Trump's leadership, EPA has been able to delete more contaminated Superfund sites off the NPL in his first three years than the entire Obama first term. In fact, we deleted all or part of 27 sites from the NPL in FY 2019, the largest number of deletions in one year since 2001. Deleting a site from the NPL not only lets the community know that the site no longer poses a human or ecological health risk, but also gives confidence to the community that the land is once again ready for productive use.

Additionally, in the past three years, this Administration has been able to assess and bring human exposure under control at an average of 24 sites each year, while the last three years of the Obama administration averaged around 10 sites each year. This is progress being made to protect human health and the environment.

Background:

Over the past two years, EPA's Superfund Task Force worked to improve the Agency's implementation of the Superfund Program in order to accelerate cleanups and shorten the path to redevelopment and safe, productive reuse. EPA continues to implement the Task Force improvements and performance measures to track how those changes improve the Superfund Program.

Deletion from the NPL is an important milestone that indicates to communities that cleanup is complete and that sites are protective of human health and the environment. Deleting sites from the NPL can help revitalize communities and promote economic growth by signaling to potential developers and financial institutions that cleanup is complete. Years, and sometimes decades, of complex investigation and cleanup work has gone into getting sites ready for deletion. The work on almost all Superfund sites can span administrations.

Furthermore, under this Administration, we are holding Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) accountable, and requiring them to fund or carry out cleanup work. In the past three years, through our enforcement efforts, we have obtained commitments from PRPs to carry out or fund $2.241 billion in cleanup work and recovered from PRPs an additional $520.9 million in costs expended by EPA for cleanup work.