Congresswoman Opens Inquiry Into EPA Toxic Cleanup In Silicon Valley
MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS) – Palo Alto Congresswoman Anna Eshoo
Representative Eshoo, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has opened an inquiry with the Environmental Protection Agency regarding a recent investigative report on the “shortfalls” of the Superfund program at cleanup sites.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Eshoo is requesting more information on the extent to which the agency monitors the interstate transport and treatment of hazardous waste from Superfund sites, alternative cleanup methods, and if the agency had enough regulatory authority in this area.
“I have serious concerns about the effectiveness of the Superfund program and the associated pollution that is created by the collection, transport, and treatment of toxic pollutants from Superfund sites,” she wrote. “What I’m concerned about is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is failing to properly monitor and regulate the emissions associated with remediating the toxic pollutants recovered from Superfund sites, as reported in a March 17, 2014, article from the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Guardian U.S.
That report found associated pollution created by the cleanup of a Superfund site in Mountain View, creating a toxic trail across the country.
EPA Superfund Manager Alana Lee, back in 2012, said the agency was aware that toxic waste was being created, particularly from solvents used to clean microchips.
“These solvents leaked into the ground via spills or leaking into underground storage tanks,” she said. “And unfortunately, that then contaminated both the soil and the groundwater beneath it.”
The EPA has been overseeing cleanup of more than two dozen Superfund sites, mainly in Mountain View and Palo Alto.
Eshoo said she supports the Superfund law, and believes it is a core environmental statute in successfully cleaning up the nation’s uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
But one of her chief concerns from the report is the emissions of dioxin, which is on the EPA’s “Dirty Dozen” list of dangerous chemicals, and is a known carcinogen.