Half of New Jersey's residents live within three miles of a Superfund site that has been contaminated with toxic substances that pollute the air, land and water.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J. 6th District, says income taxes are helping to clean up these sites but he wants to see polluters pay their own tax instead.

Pallone is co-sponsoring legislation that would restore the Superfund tax on the chemical and petroleum industry.

"American taxpayers should not be paying for the environmental damage of these corporate polluters," Pallone said.

The congressman said that part of the problem is the elusive nature of some of these companies.

"These companies go bankrupt; they don't exist anymore; their corporate headquarters is in other countries and so we can't go after them to pay for the cleanup," he said. "If you can find the company, you can sue them or threaten them and use their funds. But in many cases, you can't."

Middlesex County in his district has the highest concentration of Superfund sites in the state.

The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J. 9th District.  U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., will introduce a companion version in the Senate.

Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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