The US government is reviving two long-expired excise taxes on 42 chemicals, and substances made from them. The expected $14.4 billion in revenue will help fund decontamination of more than 1,300 polluted sites in the US.
The ‘Superfund’ taxes, which come into effect on July 1, are poised to revitalise cleanup efforts that have trickled to a near-halt over the past years as money to fund them has run out.
Originally created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act in 1980, the Superfund imposes a tax on any company manufacturing, producing or importing listed chemicals, based on the amount produced or imported.
The money collected feeds into a trust that the US Environmental Protection Agency uses to offset the high prices involved in cleaning up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. There are an estimated 44,000 such sites in the US, of which 1,300 are on the national priority list.
The levy previously lapsed in 1995, when Congress voted against renewing it. It was reinstated under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which president Joe Biden signed into law on November 15, 2021. If not renewed, the current provisions will expire at the end of December 2031.
During the 27 years since the fund’s termination, cleanup operations have almost ground to a halt. 
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