(Host) An environmental group warns that the clean up of five toxic waste sites around Vermont could be delayed because of a shortage of federal funds.
The Vermont Public Interest Research Group says it’s especially concerned about two abandoned copper mines in Orange County. Susanne Miller, VPIRG’s environmental health advocate, says the clean up work for the two mines relies heavily on federal funds. She says the federal government has under-funded the program for several years.
(Miller) “At this point in time, the Superfund is starting to dwindle down to zero. The reason being is that in 1995 Congress let the polluter pay system, fee system expire. So no more fees are going into this actual pool of money. So now that the fee system is starting to dwindle, the taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill to clean up these sites.”
(Host) According to Miller, a dam that holds back waste at the Elizabeth Mine almost failed earlier this year. She says an emergency federal grant helped stabilize the site.
But Miller says there still isn’t enough money to fully clean up the abandoned mine. The site leaches acidic mine waste into a nearby stream.