2004 Scorecard Vote
Since its creation in 1980, the landmark Superfund law has assured the cleanup of more than 900 sites across the country. The law was based on the principle that polluters, not taxpayers, should pay to clean up the toxic waste they create--in part by contributing to a trust fund. However, these fees expired in 1996, and the trust fund has dwindled from $3.8 billion in 1996 to almost nothing today. Taxpayers are now paying more than 80 percent of the cleanup bills, and the number of Superfund sites has grown to more than 1,500, with hundreds more expected to be added in the next decade. The public health ramifications are enormous. Today, nearly 70 million citizens--including 10 million children--live within four miles of a Superfund site.
Under the Bush Administration, the number of sites cleaned up per year has been cut in half, from an average of 76 per year under President Clinton to less than 40 per year today. And according to a 2004 General Accounting Office report, Superfund appropriations have declined 35 percent in real terms since 1993. During consideration of the Senate budget resolution, S. Con. Res. 95, Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jon Corzine (D-NJ) and Jim Jeffords (I-VT) introduced Senate Amendment 2703 to reinstate some $1.7 billion in revenues from Superfund fees. On March 11, 2004, the Senate rejected the amendment by a 44-52 vote (Senate roll call vote 45). YES is the pro-environment vote.