We must adopt attitudes and practices that respect the rights of present and future generations to a healthy environment. Toxic waste poisons the ecosystem rendering it unhealthy and often unlivable.
Through pollution, toxic wastes and radioactive contamination, our society is seriously damaging our environment. Once toxic materials are released into the environment it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to contain or neutralize them. EPA standards for the control of toxins are inadequate, poorly enforced, and allow for the export of known toxins to other countries. Identification and clean-up of toxic sites, even critical superfund sites, are severely inadequate.
The Green Party promotes an aggressive policy to control and counter toxins:
Develop, or bring back into common use, alternatives to toxins so that we can eliminate their use.
Contain and neutralize toxins at their point of use. Once the toxins are introduced into the environment, controlling them becomes difficult or impossible.
Fine companies convicted of dumping toxins at a rate higher than it would have cost them to neutralize the poisons in the first place.
Apply a standard of "dangerous until proven safe" to questionable substances, with the burden of proof on manufacturers and industrial users rather than on the public.
Cleaned up toxic wastes on military and industrial sites. Companies hired to perform toxic clean-ups must not have previously profited from the production, supply or use of those substances. Companies that previously profited should be required to perform clean-up services at cost.
Make companies that supplied the toxins at military sites pay at least 50% of the clean-up costs, with government funds from the military budget used for the balance.
Set and enforce stringent standards through a revitalized EPA. We must not let businesses influence or hinder the EPA's work.
Support "strict, joint and several liability" as enacted under Superfund legislation as the surest method of tapping the "deep pockets" of corporate polluters, and ensuring that responsible parties pay for hazardous waste cleanups. Liability reform must not become a shield protecting polluters' profits.
Protect the right of everyone to a healthy environment regardless of race, income, or national origin. Poor, minority or immigrant communities should no longer be convenient locations for hazardous facilities and toxic dumping. These acts of toxic racism violate the principles of environmental justice. [see Environmental Justice plank]
Develop community-based systems to identify and organize "neighborhoods at risk," and to initiate actions to counter pollution.