“Backlog Of Toxic Superfund Cleanups Grows Under Trump”

“WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has built up the biggest backlog of unfunded toxic Superfund cleanup projects in at least 15 years, nearly triple the number that were stalled for lack of money in the Obama era, according to 2019 figures quietly released by the Environmental Protection Agency over the winter holidays.

The accumulation of Superfund projects that are ready to go except for money comes as the Trump administration routinely proposes funding cuts for Superfund and for the EPA in general. The four-decade-old Superfund program is meant to tackle some of the most heavily contaminated sites in the U.S. and Trump has declared it a priority even while seeking to shrink its budget.

“There hasn’t been a sense of urgency,” said Violet Donoghue, who has lived for 31 years on Bon Brae Street in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Toxic PCBs have poisoned some local soil, water and fish at nearby Lake St. Clair, and the neighborhood is one of the 34 Superfund sites where cleanup projects languished for lack of money in 2019.”

Ellen Knickmeyer, Matthew Brown, and Ed White report for the Associated Press January 1, 2020.