Superfund Tax Reinstatement
The EPA has announced that it is backing the reinstatement of the Superfund Tax. The Superfund is essentially a trust fund created by CERCLA legislation that finances clean-up at sites where the responsible parties either can’t be found or are financially unable to pay for clean-up activities. Prior to 1995, a Superfund tax was used to maintain cash flow within the Superfund. The tax was levied on petroleum and chemical companies based on usage and importation with a secondary special income tax on corporate profits. Since the tax expired in 1995, the amount of cash available within the Superfund to clean-up these so-called orphan sites has dwindled. The Superfund has been kept alive through the use of funds from the US General Treasury. The intention of the Superfund was that “polluters pay”, such that the companies using and importing the chemicals would pay for clean-up, not the general public. The 2010 budget proposed by President Obama includes reinstatement of the Superfund tax, beginning in January 2011 and extending for 10 years. This proposal is backed by the EPA and has the potential to generate over $17 billion during the proposed timeline. The tax would be imposed on crude oil, imported petroleum products, hazardous chemicals, and imported substances that use hazardous chemicals on feedstocks with an additional corporate environmental tax (applied to corporate-modified alternative minimum taxable income).