Peter J. Wilcoxen
Associate Professor
Economics and Public Administration
Syracuse University
Peter Wilcoxen


Recently, Syracuse University professor Peter Wilcoxen and a group of graduate students began a study to look at other environmental priorities in the county, and how community groups and government agencies would address these other issues.

Envi editor in chief Khris Dodson sat down with Wilcoxen to discuss the research progress and findings.


Since 1980, the federally supported Superfund Program has been providing funds for toxic waste cleanups. Onondaga Lake is one of about 1,305 Superfund sites nationwide. Honeywell, Inc., the corporation taking responsibility for the lake's pollution, paid more than $400 billion for its cleanup in 2006.



ENVI I've heard you are working on a project looking into other ways Superfund money for Onondaga Lake could be spent. Tell me more.

WILCOXEN The project originated from an idea along those lines. If someone was going to spend almost $500 million to remediate Onondaga Lake, that's a lot of money. The question is, is that the best use of almost half a billion dollars in the local area for environmental purposes? The way the rules are written, there isn't really any choice.

And the motivation is that it is really expensive to clean up Onondaga Lake, and some of what is being cleaned up is kind of dormant in the environment — it's underneath sediments and pretty expensive to remove. It's not causing many problems and there could be other higher environmental priorities.

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