Shutdown suspends federal cleanups at US Superfund sites

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The partial government shutdown has forced suspension of federal work at the nation’s Superfund sites unless it is determined there is an “imminent threat” to life or property.

In Alabama’s north Birmingham, 40-year-old Keisha Brown says the shutdown is “adding more fuel to the fire” when it comes to residents being left to live among the toxic residue of industry. Her neighborhood is a Superfund site. The Environmental Protection Agency helped as crews scraped away factory contaminants from residents’ yards.

The nearly 3-week-old shutdown has idled most of about 14,000 EPA employees. The agency’s shutdown plan called for examining about 800 Superfund sites to see which might pose an immediate threat.

Contractors and state workers can continue their Superfund work without the EPA.

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