EPA's solid waste office is still without a leader
The Office of Land and Emergency Management boasts billions of dollars to clean up toxic waste in the U.S., but a leader has yet to be approved for this EPA office.
Political roadblocks, including the GOP resistance to President Joe Biden's initial nominee Carlton Waterhouse, have left the position unfilled.
There is great concern over the lack of leadership in the solid waste office, which has a key role in the Superfund program. With billions of dollars to spend on staffing and Superfund and brownfield clean-up, the clock is ticking to select a leader and hire more staff.
EPA proposes adding Hammond, Indiana to Superfund list
An old smelting site in Hammond, Indiana could be added to the EPA's Superfund list. The EPA proposed adding the site of the former Federated Metals Corp., which is contaminated with lead and arsenic to, as a national priority.
High levels of arsenic can lead to serious issues for children and pregnant women, in addition to heart, kidney and reproductive issues.
Before the proposal is approved, it must undergo a 60-day comment period.
IRS' proposal to implement Superfund excise taxes
The IRS has proposed to implement Superfund excise taxes, which initially expired in 1995 and were revived in late 2021 as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The excise taxes will be in effect for at least a decade, so the IRS is inviting stakeholders to comment on the proposal and issues related to it by May 30, 2023.
Public comment period ends for Superfund site plan
The comment period for the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine Superfund site cleanup plan has officially ended.
The 160-acre Superfund site sits on the shore of Clear Lake in Clearlake Oaks, and the proposal is to clean up contaminated soil in the area.
The next steps of the plan will continue into fall and winter.
Whitefish river work continues
An oil sheen was discovered on the Whitefish River and reported to both the EPA and DEQ on April 10. Work continues to take place to address the oil sheen, which located near the BNSF rail yard. The rail yard is considered a high-priority Superfund site, which spans 78 acres in Whitefish, and has been contaminated with a number of harmful chemicals.
The city of Whitefish did close down bike and pedestrian paths near the oil sheen as investigations continue.
Multifamily housing to fill long-vacant brownfield site in St. Albans
St. Albans officials are hoping to revitalize their long-blighted brownfield site just north of the downtown area, the former site of the Fonda Container Co. that ended operations in ’05. The city cleared the land in 2011 and it’s stood vacant ever since.
The site, located on Lower Newton Street, is already home to a new railroad dispatch office – and now the city is announcing plans to build over 100 units of mixed-income housing on the remaining 5.5 acres.
The “workforce housing” is meant for households making between 30% and 80% of area median income. This is sometimes referred to as the “missing middle” in modern American housing markets. The city already has a preliminary agreement with a developer of 33 housing units and is offering incentives to ensure the success of the project.