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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2003

Contact: Elaine Makatura
(609) 292-9289

New Jersey Officials Call on EPA to Resume Cleanup at Roebling Superfund Site

(03/111) Florence -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today joined Senator Jon S. Corzine, Florence Township Mayor Michael J. Muchowski and NJPIRG Campaign Director Doug O'Malley at the Roebling Superfund site to call for resumed federal cleanup funding of the former Burlington County steel plant where remedial work has stopped.

"Communities like Florence Township have already waited too long to be rid of the contamination in their midst," said Commissioner Campbell. "The shortfall of leadership in Bush Administration has clearly lead to a shortfall in funding to cleanup toxic waste sites in our neighborhoods."

DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell, Senator Jon S. Corzine, Assemblyman                             Jack Conners ( District 7), Florence Township Mayor Michael J. Muchowski and Doug O' Malley of New                              Jersey Public Interest Research Group visit the Roebling Superfund site in Florence Township to                          discuss Superfund cleanup funding.
Photo caption: DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell, Senator Jon S. Corzine, Assemblyman Jack Conners ( District 7), Florence Township Mayor Michael J. Muchowski and Doug O' Malley of New Jersey Public Interest Research Group visit the Roebling Superfund site in Florence Township to discuss Superfund cleanup funding.

 

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Headquarters denied a funding request to resume work this past March to cleanup and demolish contaminated buildings at the Roebling site. Cleanup work that was planned for this year is estimated to cost $10 million, $1 million of which New Jersey has committed to pay as the state's 10 percent share of this phase of the site's overall cleanup.

"This slowdown in cleaning up Superfund sites is unacceptable and once again demonstrates how important it is to renew the tax on polluters,'' Senator Corzine declared. "The Bush administration shows no regard for the health of our environment, or the health of our economy, by starving us of the money necessary to clean up toxic waste sites.''

"The Bush Administration and Congress are slowing down funding to clean up some of New Jersey's most toxic waste sites," said Doug O'Malley of New Jersey Public Interest Research Group. "This means that more New Jersey communities will continue to face the health risks of toxic waste in their towns, and more New Jersey taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill for these clean-ups."

"Delaying the Roebling cleanup will stall the township's efforts to redevelop this site," said Commissioner Campbell. "We have the responsibility to help the town of Florence bring this historic and complex back to productive use, creating needed jobs and new revenue for the region's economy."

The Roebling Steel Company produced steel wire and cable at this 200-acre site from 1906 until 1981, when much of the site was closed down, with portions leased to other businesses. In addition to contamination in 70 buildings on the site, hazardous waste was found in lagoons, an inactive landfill, storage tanks and sumps. Since EPA placed the site on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1983, emergency cleanup actions have been completed that included the removal of over 3,000 drums of waste and some contaminated soils.

However, until the work that started in 1999 to decontaminate and demolish the buildings is complete, the final work to address remaining contaminated soils and river sediments, along with site redevelopment, will be delayed.

"We need federal leadership to reinstate the Superfund tax on oil and chemical companies that supplies the trust used to finance toxic cleanups like Roebling, otherwise we will continue to see the dramatic decrease in completed cleanups that has occurred during the Bush Administration," said Commissioner Campbell.

New Jersey has 115 Superfund sites on the National Priorities List of Superfund sites. Nineteen have been removed from the list. State funds to provide a required 10 percent share of Superfund cleanups are available through constitutionally mandated New Jersey Corporate Business Tax allocations and voter-approved Hazardous Waste bonds.

 

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