EPA Releases Superfund, Energy Efficiency Reports

On Oct. 4, EPA released two separate reports, one outlining the current progress of the Superfund program, and the other stating that that with the help of ENERGY STAR®, Americans saved about $10 billion in energy bills last year.

According to the agency's Fiscal Year 2004 Annual Report, the agency completed construction at 40 sites across the country for a total of 926 sites or 61 percent of the sites on the National Priorities List. Completions have declined to 40 during each of the past two years; there were 42 completions in 2002 and 47 in 2001.

According to the report, the Superfund program spent $507 million to perform construction and post-construction activities and to conduct and oversee emergency response actions. EPA obligated $104 million of appropriated funds, state cost share, and responsible party settlement resources for 27 new construction projects.

The agency cites other Superfund accomplishments including:

  • Conducting 678 long-term, ongoing cleanup projects at 428 sites.
  • Securing $680 million in cleanup commitments and cost recoveries from the private parties responsible for toxic waste sites.
  • Listing 11 new sites on the National Priorities List, and proposing 26 sites to be listed.
  • Spending $228 million to conduct and oversee site assessments and investigations, selection and design of cleanup plans, support for state, tribal, community involvement activities, and other activities.
  • Selecting final cleanup plans at 30 sites, bringing the cumulative total of sites with final cleanup plans to approximately 66 percent of the 1,529 NPL sites.

The report can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/superfund.

On Sept. 29, several organizations released the"25th Anniversary of Superfund: America's Safety Net in Crisis," a report stating that the program is now at its weakest, at a time when it is needed most to respond to the toxic emergencies caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The report states that the once-robust and successful toxic waste safety net is now in crisis. "Since polluter-pays fees expired in 1995, and Congress refused to reinstate them, the burden on taxpayers to support the Superfund Trust Fund has increased by 300 percent," noted Lois Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, a co-author of the report. "Taxpayers now fully shoulder the burden of the program's $1.2 billion annual appropriation to clean up abandoned sites."

The report can be accessed at http://www.besafenet.com.

EPA also released a report showing that with the help of ENERGY STAR®®, Americans saved about $10 billion and the amount of energy required to power about 25 million homes during peak power. The report also states ENERGY STAR®, a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency, and EPA's other voluntary programs together prevented 57 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, an increase from 48 million in 2003.

"EPA applauds our partners for their leadership and exemplary efforts to save energy and ensure a healthier, cleaner environment for all Americans," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "By harnessing the power of the marketplace and technological innovations, we are proving that environmental results and increased economic productivity indeed progress hand-in-hand."

Highlights from the report include:

  • Close to 12,000 homes have been improved through Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®, which continues to grow with the addition of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored pilot programs in a number of cities.
  • More than 2,500 builders have constructed more than 360,000 ENERGY STAR® qualified new homes, locking in financial savings for homeowners that exceed $200 million annually.
  • More than 1.5 billion ENERGY STAR® qualified products have been purchased.
  • Through EPA's Green Power Partnership, more than 500 partners have committed to purchasing more than 2 billion kilowatt-hour (kWh) of green power.
  • EPA's climate protection programs exceeded their goals for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 and are on target to provide significant greenhouse gas reductions required to meet the president's 18 percent greenhouse gas intensity improvement goal by 2012.
  • Partnership programs achieved significant reductions of non-carbon dioxide gases. Through the combined efforts of the methane programs, U.S. methane emissions are expected to be kept below 1990 levels through 2012.

These programs include initiatives that develop clean energy solutions, increase the capture and use of methane gas, minimize emissions of other non-carbon dioxide gases, and provide opportunities for corporate partners to develop long-term comprehensive climate change strategies. The report details the environmental and economic accomplishments of these programs and outlines goals for 2005 and beyond.

The 2004 annual report is available at http://www.epa.gov/cppd.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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