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Bill Would Reinstate Part of Superfund Tax

Tax on corporate profits would be dedicated to refilling insolvent federal trust fund

by Cheryl Hogue
November 8, 2005

Credit: Photo By Susan Morrissey
Credit: Photo By Susan Morrissey

The chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-N.Y.), has introduced a bill that would help refill the now-empty Superfund, the federal trust fund for cleaning up abandoned hazardous waste sites.

The bill (H.R. 4199) would reinstate one part of the three-pronged Superfund tax that expired at the end of 1995. The legislation would again tax corporate profits over $2 million at a rate of 0.12 % and dedicate the revenue to the Superfund account.

“That's a negligible burden to provide dedicated funds for restoring Superfund sites,” Boehlert says. In 1995, this so-called corporate environmental tax raised about $700 million for Superfund, he says.

Boehlert’s bill would not reinstate the other two parts of the Superfund tax—levies on chemical feedstocks and crude oil. Chemical makers and oil companies, which paid billions of dollars into Superfund over the 15 years these levies were in place, are staunchly opposed to the resurrection of these industry-specific taxes.

EPA uses Superfund monies to respond to emergencies, such as chemical spills, that threaten public health and for long-term, permanent cleanup of polluted properties.

This trust fund, established in 1980 under legislation aimed at making polluters pay for cleanup, essentially ran out of money in 2003 (C&EN, Sept. 9, 2002, page 31). Since then, Congress has funded EPA's Superfund activities almost entirely from general tax revenues.


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