Steven Jawetz Quoted In Bloomberg Tax on Superfund Tax Revival and “Polluter Pays” Tax Model

Bloomberg Tax

Beveridge & Diamond Principal Steve Jawetz (Washington, DC) has been quoted in “Superfund Tax Revival Renewing ‘Polluter Pays’ Debate” in Bloomberg Tax.

The article addresses the ongoing question of who should pay to clean up highly contaminated Superfund sites. Petrochemical companies have long argued that they are already bearing significant financial burdens where they have been identified as responsible under the law. Steve comments that they have been paying for and performing much of the site remediation work.

The reimposition of a so-called “polluters pay” tax on the petrochemical industry, he argues, could mean that these taxes are being paid by people and companies unconnected to the pollution of the abandoned sites where most of the funds will be spent.

“It depends on your view of what’s fair or not,” he continued “There’s no question, from a social perspective, society needs these abandoned sites addressed, but why should one segment of American industry be required to pay for that?”

Steve noted that the original Superfund tax scheme included several tax components to fund site cleanup, including a general corporate tax and one on the petrochemical industry. Over the years there have been several attempts made to reauthorize the tax, none of which, he says, have succeeded.

“Orphan sites,” like abandoned mines, where none of the potentially liable parties are currently financially viable, are the center of this particular controversy, Steve says.

“The big question is, where should that funding come from and how broad-based is that tax base going to be to make it as fair as possible, given that the benefits of those clean ups flow to everyone?” he concluded.