WASHINGTON - March 23 - The Sierra Club began running ads to educate the public about the Bush administration's failure to make polluters pay for the cleanup of their toxic messes, putting communities across America at risk. This week, the Sierra Club will have a combination of TV and radio ads in four states highlighting the Bush administration's refusal to support the "polluter pays" principle that would relieve taxpayers of the significant financial burden of cleaning up abandoned toxic waste sites.
Television ads will run in Tampa, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Detroit, Michigan, and a radio ad will run in Omaha, Nebraska. The ads highlight the following toxic sites: Velsicol Plant in St. Louis, MI near the Pine River; Port Richmond in Philadelphia, PA; Coronet site in Plant City, FL; and Omaha Lead Site in Omaha, NE.
"The Bush administration has abandoned the landmark principle that corporate polluters should be held responsible for the toxic messes they leave behind and has instead saddled taxpayers with the financial burden of cleanups," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. "We're making sure the public knows the Bush Administration consistently favors industry profits over Americans' health and safety."
The Pennsylvania ad highlights "Port Richmond -- a typical Northeast Philadelphia community, except for its neighbor, an abandoned slag heap contaminated with lead that won't be cleaned up unless we pay. The Bush administration says polluters no longer have to pay to clean up the mess they leave behind -- taxpayers do that means less money, fewer cleanups and more families at risk. Mr. President, there is a better way."
"We're not only on the air, we're on the ground too," said Pope. "In each of these states we are mobilizing our activists to get the word out. At their doorsteps and on the phone, Sierra Club volunteers are letting their neighbors know that there is better way to keep our communities safe and healthy."
The landmark Superfund program ran out of polluter-contributed funds last year. With close to 1,300 toxic waste sites still in need of cleanup, the ramifications of a dwindling polluter trust fund to cleanup toxic waste places our communities and environment at risk. Already, 1 in 4 Americans lives within 4 miles of a toxic waste site that is considered a Superfund cleanup priority. Once a site is listed on the Superfund National Priority List, it takes on average 11 years before the cleanup is complete. Without the polluter-funded trust fund, sites are forced to compete with other Superfund sites and the entire program competes with other federal environmental priorities. The rate of completed cleanups has fallen by 50 percent under the Bush administration compared to 1997-2000, and site listings have slowed down as well.
To listen to or view the ads, please visit: http://www.sierraclub.org/pressroom/media/