EPA pledges $16M per year for Tar Creek cleanup

Final plan to be released this summer
EPA pledges $16M per year for Tar Creek cleanup
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The Environmental Protection Agency has pledged more than $16 million annually for the continued cleanup of mine waste at the heavily polluted Tar Creek Superfund Site in northeastern Oklahoma. The draft plan outlines goals for federal, state and tribal cooperation over five years.

The Tulsa World reports the EPA, in cooperation with the state of Oklahoma and the Quapaw Nation, said Monday that their plan is open for a 30-day public evaluation. The plan provides an update on cleanup progress and establishes framework for cleaning up mining waste in Ottawa County over the next five years. A Tar Creek Strategic Plan is expected this summer.

“This plan renews our focus, further propels the cleanup progress, and ultimately achieves greater results for Ottawa County,” EPA Regional Administrator Anne Idsal said in a news release.

The plan states that Tar Creek was placed on an “Administrator’s Emphasis List for Immediate, Intense Action” in 2017 due to its status as one of the most challenging Superfund sites in the nation. New EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler reaffirmed its position on the list in 2018.

Superfund is a law that gives the EPA funding and authority to clean up contaminated sites. Tar Creek, in Ottawa County, covers a 40-square-mile area and is one of the nation’s oldest, most complex Superfund sites.

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