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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of


CURWOOD: Fifteen years ago the Superfund became law. It was a response to toxic chemicals seeping into a housing development at New York's Love Canal. The law's aim seemed simple enough: make polluters pay for the clean-up. Nearly $30 billion has been spent on Superfund since then, including more than $13 billion by the Environmental Protection Agency. Private spending is estimated at about $2 billion a year. As much as a third of the private funds go to lawyers. The EPA is now making an effort to see that not just lawyers earn a living from Superfund clean-ups. It recently unveiled an apprenticeship program that will let people living near the waste sites get training and jobs to help in the clean-up. And apparently the EPA needs all the help it can get. Of the nearly 1,300 Superfund sites on the national priority list, work has been completed on only 291.



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