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Federal work at Superfund sites suspended during shutdown

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By Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The government shutdown has suspended federal cleanups at Superfund sites around the nation and forced the cancellation of public hearings, deepening the mistrust and resentment of surrounding residents who feel people in power long ago abandoned them to live among the toxic residue of the country's factories and mines.

"We are already hurting, and it's just adding more fuel to the fire," says 40-year-old Keisha Brown. Her home is in a community nestled among plants that turn coal into carbon-rich fuel and other factories on Birmingham's north side.

The mostly African-American community has been forced to cope with high levels of arsenic, lead and other contaminants in the soil that the Environmental Protection Agency has been scraping up and carting away, house by house.

As President Donald Trump and Congress battle over Trump's demand for a wall on the southern U.S. border, the 3-week-old partial government shutdown has stopped federal work on Superfund sites except for cases where the administration deems "there is an imminent threat to the safety of human life or to the protection of property."


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