Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Climate Change Threatens 60% of Toxic Superfund Sites, GAO Finds

Hundreds of polluted sites face an increased risk of inundation from sea level rise, flooding exacerbated by global warming, or wildfires, Congress’s watchdog warns.

Sixty percent of the nation's heavily polluted Superfund sites—nearly 950 of them—are at risk from the impacts of climate change, including hurricane storm surges and flooding that could spread their toxic legacies into waterways, communities and farmland, a new federal report warns.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office report, released Monday, describes the increased risk of toxic substances being washed out by floo
The Gowanus Canal, once a bustling transportation and shipping route in Brooklyn, New York, was declared a Superfund cleanup site in 2010. A new GAO report shows the polluted site is one of several that would be affected by even a Category 1 hurricane. (Photo Credit:  Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
ding at sites across the country, as well as wildfire risks that could send health-harming pollutants airborne.

It recommends that the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the federal Superfund program, start providing clear, agency-wide instructions on how its officials should incorporate climate change into Superfund site risk assessments and response decisions. 

That would be a change for the current administration.   Currently, the EPA does not include climate change in its agency-wide goals and objectives, preventing the agency from addressing the added risks at contaminated sites across the country as the planet warms, the report concluded.

Read more at Climate Change Threatens 60% of Toxic Superfund Sites, GAO Finds

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