Superfund Taxes

Reinstating Superfund taxes on America’s chemical makers to help pay for hazardous waste site cleanup would unfairly target companies that did not create the sites and would erode our ability to compete globally.

Policy Background

The Superfund program taxed chemical companies beginning in 1980 to pay for cleaning up hazardous waste sites at which a “responsible party” could not be identified (called “orphan sites”).  Others that created these Superfund sites—mining companies, landfills, rail yards, farms, military installations and others—did not pay the tax.

Chemical manufacturing facilities constituted less than nine percent of superfund sites, and virtually all have been cleaned up.

Superfund taxes became part of the federal government's general revenue, and only a portion of the money collected was spent on cleanups. Half of the cleanup funds were spent on activities only indirectly associated with cleanup.

Superfund taxes expired in 1995. Some in Congress want to revive these taxes to pay for cleaning up the remaining orphan sites.

ACC’s Policy Position

Reinstating the Superfund tax would be unfair and harmful to America’s chemical makers and conflicts with the President’s goal of “making America the best place on earth to do business.”

  • Taxing companies that did not create hazardous waste sites is plainly unfair. Arguments that the Superfund tax would make the “polluter pay” are disingenuous at best and often flat out wrong.

  • New Superfund taxes would not increase the scope or pace of cleanup.

  • New Superfund taxes would conflict with Congressional efforts to increase U.S. jobs and President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports. Superfund taxes would give foreign competitors—who don’t pay the tax—a competitive advantage, resulting in the loss of U.S. market share, chemical facility closures and fewer American jobs.

U.S. chemical makers employ over 800,000 Americans and support nearly six million American jobs. Congress must reject the reimposition of Superfund taxes.

Learn more about federal tax policy.