60% of Superfund sites at risk from climate change

Nearly 950 toxic Superfund sites, many lining Lake Michigan near Chicago, are in danger of inundation by rising sea levels and storm surges due to climate change, according to a recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan government watchdog agency.

The GAO report recommends the U.S. EPA start providing clear instructions on how Superfund site officials should incorporate climate change into risk assessments and management.

However, since the Trump Administration does not acknowledge climate change, this report exposes a critical, unaddressed risk.

“By refusing to address the worsening impacts of climate change at our nation’s Superfund sites – from flooding to wildfires to more frequent extreme weather events – the EPA is putting public health at risk,” tweeted Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.

The GAO report cited risks attributed to climate change include sea level rise, floods, storm surges and wildfires.

An AP article published in the Chicago Tribune states: “The GAO review comes after a 2017 review by The Associated Press found that two million people in the U.S. live within a mile (1.6 kilometers) of 327 Superfund sites in areas prone to flooding or vulnerable to sea level rise caused by climate change. The AP analyzed national flood zone maps, census data and EPA records in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which flooded more than a dozen Superfund sites in the Houston area, with breaches reported at two. At the time, an EPA spokesman derided AP’s reporting as “fear-mongering.”

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