Speeches By EPA Administrator
Lord-Shope Landfill Superfund Site10/15/1996
Carol M. Browner
Administrator, U.S. Environmental
Lord-Shope Landfill Superfund Site
Girard Township, PA
Prepared for Delivery
October 15, 1996
It is a pleasure to be here with Mayor Savocchio, County Executive Lynch, representatives of the Lord Chemical Corporation, government officials, and members of the community.
Three and a half years ago, when President Clinton and I came into office, we committed to take action to make Superfund work faster, fairer, and more efficiently, to clean up toxic waste dumps like this one and return them to safe, productive community use. We embarked on the most aggressive and extensive effort in the history of the Superfund program.
In just three and a half years, we have cleaned up more toxic waste sites than were cleaned up in the previous 12 years of the Superfund program.
Today we are gathered to mark a very proud occasion -- the completion of cleanup here at the Lord-Shope Landfill -- the nation's 400th Superfund cleanup completion. This site is a symbol for the nation of what we can do when we join together, community by community, to clean up toxic waste sites. It is also a symbol of the progress we've made in speeding up cleanups and making Superfund work faster, fairer and more efficiently in communities across the country.
Over a period of 20 years, this site was the dumpsite for tons of hazardous waste. The members of this community worried about the impact on their drinking water. They worried about the impact on the farmland near the site. They worried about property values of their homes and businesses. They were bothered by the smell and the unsightly appearance of the site. And they worried about their children wandering onto the site and playing among the drums of toxic chemicals.
The members of this community demanded action. The State of Pennsylvania ordered that the site be sealed off. Through a consent decree with the Superfund program, the Lord Chemical Corporation, which had been responsible for the dumping, took responsibility for cleaning up the site. EPA developed the cleanup plan. The Lord Corporation spent millions of dollars on the cleanup. Today, the cleanup construction is complete. Innovative technology is now in place that will finish the job of removing contamination from the ground water and the soil.
In hundreds of communities like this one, the Superfund program has protected millions of Americans from serious health risks. And it has prevented untold amounts of future pollution.
Across the country, we set a record pace for Superfund cleanups, accelerating the pace of cleanups by 20and exceeding our goal for cleanup completions. We also significantly reduced the cost of cleanup by 20
We removed 27,000 sites from the national Superfund inventory, removing the stigma and clearing the way to redevelopment.
We removed thousands of "little guys," including small businesses and homeowners, from the Superfund liability net.
Our Brownfields Action Agenda is helping communities across the country to clean up and redevelop abandoned and contaminated pieces of urban land across the country.
More remains to be done. No child should have to grow up near a toxic waste site.
The President has commited to further accelerate the cleanup of Superfund sites -- to clean up approximately 2/3 of the worst sites by the year 2000.
The President has also commited to a major expansion of the brownfields initiative over the next four years.
And we have called on Congress to fix the Superfund law -- to further speed the pace of cleanup, to give states and communities a greater voice in the cleanup process, and continue to hold polluters accountable for the damage they have done. The polluter, not the taxpayer, must pay.
We are committed that Superfund must continue to work for the benefit of our communities -- to protect our health and our environment for generations to come -- and to meet our fundamental promise to the American people -- the promise of fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, safe food to eat, and land that is safe to live on.