ACC: Responsible Parties Paying for Superfund Site Cleanup

Jun 21, 2010, 13:54 ET from American Chemistry Council

Misconceptions Could Lead to Inappropriate Taxation, Loss of U.S. Jobs without Environmental Benefit

ARLINGTON, Va., June 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for the reinstatement of Superfund taxes.

American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO Cal Dooley issued the following statement:

"EPA's call for the re-imposition of Superfund taxes is a lose-lose for the environment and the economy. We read with particular interest EPA's comment that 'parties who benefit from the manufacture or sale of substances commonly found in contaminated sites contribute to the cost of cleanup.' The fact is, since the taxes expired in 1995, responsible parties have continued paying for the cleanup of Superfund sites and continue to reimburse EPA for all of its cleanup costs.  America's chemical makers and others targeted by the Superfund tax have paid for site remediation several times over: We paid for sites for which we were responsible, we helped pay for 'orphan' sites where we were not the responsible party, and we paid corporate taxes such as the Corporate Environmental Income Tax. It would be inappropriate and unfair to impose Superfund taxes on companies with no responsibility for site contamination.

"Even worse, EPA's suggestion is in direct conflict with Congress's desire to grow U.S. jobs and President Obama's stated goal of doubling U.S. exports.  The re-imposition of Superfund taxes will simply give our foreign competitors, who don't pay the tax, yet another advantage.  We'll see the loss of U.S. market share, the importation of finished products, the loss of American jobs and even the tax revenue Congress was seeking in the first place.

"It's important to understand that Superfund taxes do not control the pace of cleanup, and the taxes have never correlated to EPA's annual Superfund budget, which is instead determined through the Congressional appropriations process. The budget challenges facing Congress are not a valid justification for taking action that will cost U.S. jobs and damage our nation's global competitiveness without positively affecting site remediation.

"The U.S. chemical industry employs more than 800,000 Americans and creates over five million jobs in downstream sectors.  The industry is already facing slumping demand from the recession, continued high costs for energy, intense foreign competition, and razor-thin margins. It's imperative that Congress recognize the short-sighted nature of EPA's proposal and reject the re-imposition of Superfund taxes."

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $674 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is one of the nation's largest exporters, accounting for ten cents out of every dollar in U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.

SOURCE American Chemistry Council