In 1976, improperly buried toxic waste seeped into homes in the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York. As the years passed, it became clear that newborns of Love Canal residents had a significantly higher rate of birth defects than infants in nearby neighborhoods. Love Canal residents also had a higher rate of cancer than other residents of Niagara Falls. The families of Love Canal demanded that federal legislation be enacted to prevent such contamination in the future.
The U.S. Surgeon General remarked that toxic chemicals were the most serious threat, in the upcoming decade of the 1980’s, to the health of the population of the United States. He emphasized the urgent need for federal regulation of toxic chemicals and their waste products. Eighty percent of Americans agreed with him.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) was passed by Congress in 1980. CERCLA was the first major law that regulated the management and clean up of toxic waste in the United States. CERCLA gave the Environmental Protection Agency the power to clean up polluted sites and to collect fines from those responsible for the contamination. It also created the Superfund—a program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency—to clean up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites, accidental spills, and other contaminants released into the environment.
CERCLA is one of the 48 federal laws that has been waived to expedite the building of a border wall (click here for a list of all 48 laws waived). How will local communities and wildlife living in our borderlands be impacted? There are already nine Superfund sites and 4011 hazardous waste sites in Arizona. Waiving CERCLA means that hazardous wastes created during the construction of the wall can be deposited on the ground or into the water, with no monitoring and no consequences. The same goes for accidental spills or the discharge of other contaminants. The outcome is that new Superfund or hazardous waste sites could be created in our borderlands.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members) and let them know that you oppose waiving CERCLA to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.