National Geographic : 2014 Dec
Superfund 145 0 1 2 3 4 5 Status of the fund in 2013 dollars, billions 1981 1995 Tax expires 2013 Balance Federal appropriations 1 Superfund site 100 Superfund sites Tax expires No end in sight Leaky barrels can be removed, but contaminated land and groundwater remain. Most Superfund sites have been on the list for decades. No end in sight Leaky barrels can be removed, but contaminated land and groundwater remain. Most Superfund sites have been on the list for decades. 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 1982 A Nationwide Cleanup Since Congress passed the Superfund law in 1980, many of the worst hazardous waste sites in the U.S. have either been cleaned up or brought under control. But hundreds more are works in progress— and 95 of them, says the EPA, may be exposing humans to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals. A depleted Superfund and shrinking appropriations from Con- gress have delayed cleanup at some sites. Deleted: 370 All cleanup efforts have been completed, and the site has been removed from the National Priorities List. At first the Superfund was flush from taxes on oil and chemicals, but Congress let those expire in 1995. It’s now financed by the general fund—that is, by all taxpayers. NATIONAL PRIORITIES LIST STATUS, 2013 Active: 525 Cleanup facilities have not yet been completed. Proposed: 54 Sites have been studied, and cleanup plans proposed. Construction completed: 790 All the physical facilities necessary for cleanup—a landfill cap, say, or a water treatment plant—have been built. These facilities may need to be operated and maintained indefinitely. JASON TREAT, NGM STAFF; MEG ROOSEVELT AND JAMIE HAWK. SOURCES: EPA; GAO Numbers shown are statuses as of the end of each fiscal year (September 30).