Founded in 1989 by Executive Director Robert Spiegel, Edison Wetlands Association (EWA) is New Jersey's leader in toxic waste site cleanups, environmental restoration, and conservation of natural resources. EWA works in several critical areas cleaning and restoring the longest river solely in New Jersey, the Raritan River; preserving Central New Jersey's remaining natural areas, including the Dismal Swamp Conservation Area (DSCA); and helping to empower communities throughout the nation that suffer negative impacts from environmental injustices and inequities.
Over the past 25 years, EWA has successfully developed innovative strategies that have led to the cleanups and restoration of challenging, high-profile sites such as the "Green Rabbits" former Chemical Insecticide Corporation Superfund Site in Edison, once an Agent Orange-soaked toxic wasteland and now a remediated Green Acres public park. EWA's Environmental Justice program directly empowers marginalized communities such as the Ramapough-Lenape Native Americans, who live on a Superfund site in Ringwood.
EWA also serves as a New Jersey conservation leader, successfully managing a range of innovative projects that preserve and restore open space. This includes "Brownfields-to-Greenfields" (B2G) projects in partnership with municipalities and green business leaders, which balance economic factors that lead to environmental redevelopments. Shannon Lisa manages EWA's Environmental Education program, "Hello, My Name is Nature," at EWA's Triple C Ranch and Nature Center.
EWA's Re-Purpose New Jersey program continues to expand this economic-environmental initiative, partnering with municipalities to recycle and re-purpose clothing and other textiles, saving thousands of taxpayer dollars while greatly reducing waste in landfills.
HISTORY OF THE SUPERFUND
New Jersey leads the nation with the most Superfund and hazardous waste sites - with 114 Federal Superfund sites, and an estimated 25,000 hazardous waste sites. With a long history as an industrial center, New Jersey continues to pay the price of its industrial past. That unfortunate legacy makes an even greater impact because of how densely populated New Jersey is.
Following the Love Canal incidents of the 1970s, America realized that there were thousands of other communities also built on unknown toxins. The "Superfund," or the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) was enacted by Congress on December 11, 1980. This law created a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries and provided broad federal authority to respond directly to releases of hazardous substances that could endanger public health or the environment.
As the sheer magnitude of the nation's hazardous waste problem became apparent, states, counties, and local communities found they lacked the ability to address the great complexity, size, and costs of hazardous waste remediation. The Federal Superfund program was the answer.
After many successes - and with over 53 million Americans living within 3 miles of a Superfund site - the unthinkable happened. The Superfund was allowed to expire. With hundreds of Superfund sites on hold and the remaining contaminated and dangerous, EWA Executive Director Robert Spiegel testified before the US Senate on the importance of re-authorizing the Superfund. EWA continues to work to help keep the Superfund active.
Source: NY Times
Source: Living on Earth
Source: Center for Health, Environment, & Justice