The Superfund list came in direct response to the EPA's Superfund Task Force Recommendations issued in July of 2017.
MIAMI – The Tar Creek Superfund Site made U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's list of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate and Intense Action, but no commitment of additional funding is associated with the site’s inclusion on the list.
The Tar Creek Superfund Site is included on a list of 21 sites across the nation making the list.
The EPA considered sites that could benefit from Pruitt’s direct engagement and sites that have identifiable actions to protect human health and the environment.
The listed sites require timely resolution of specific issues to expedite cleanup and redevelopment efforts, according to the EPA’s press release, and the list is designed to spur action at sites where opportunities exist to act quickly and comprehensively.
The Superfund list came in direct response to the EPA’s Superfund Task Force Recommendations issued in July of 2017.
According to the EPA, Pruitt will receive regular updates on the listed sites, but the EPA remains dedicated to addressing the risks of all Superfund sites.
There are currently more than 1,300 Superfund sites on EPA's National Priorities List at various stages in the cleanup process
The Task Force recommendations are aimed at expediting cleanup at all sites and Pruitt has set the expectation of a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress.
The list released on Dec. 8 includes the following U.S. Superfund Sites Mohawk Tannery in Nashua, New Hampshire, Centredale Manor Restoration Project in North Providence in Rhode Island, American Cyanamid Co. in Bound Brook, New Jersey, Diamond Alkali Co. (aka Upper Lower Passaic) Newark, New Jersey, Ventron/Velsicol (aka Berry’s Creek) in Wood Ridge Borough, New Jersey, L.A. Clarke & Son in Spotsylvania, Virginia, B.F. Goodrich in Calvert City, Kentucky, Mississippi Phosphates Corporation in Pascagoula, Mississippi, U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery Inc. (aka USS Lead or East Chicago) in East Chicago, Indiana, Allied Paper Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Tar Creek (Ottawa County) in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, San Jacinto Waste Pits in Channelview, Texas, Des Moines TCE (aka Dico Company) in Des Moines, Iowa, West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri, Bonita Peak Mining District in San Juan County, Colorado, Anaconda Co. Smelter in Anaconda, Montana, Silver Bow Creek/Butte Area I Butte, Montana, Orange County North Basin in Fullerton, California, Anaconda Copper Mine in Lyon County, Nevada, Portland Harbor in Portland, Oregon and Quendall Terminal in Renton, Washington.
All 21 sites have been designated the nation’s Superfund sites for years, some for decades. Tar Creek was first officially designated a Superfund in 1983.
Millions and millions, well over $300 million, of federal funding has been expended for cleanup and buyout of the Tar Creek Superfund Site which continues today and is expected to continue for more decades to come.
Pruitt is a former Oklahoma state senator and served the state as attorney general before his nomination by President Trump to the EPA and confirmation to the post in February of 2017.
During his time serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general Pruitt refused to release the state audit conducted regarding the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Trust (LICRAT), a Public Trust and Agency of the State of Oklahoma buyout of the Tar Creek Superfund Site despite the objection of other state officials.
A non-profit Washington, DC watchdog group, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Oklahoma in November of 2017 against Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones for failing to release copies of audits and documents related to corruption allegations associated with the management of the Tar Creek Reclamation site in the state, according to their press release.
“While he was serving as the Attorney General of Oklahoma, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declined to bring criminal charges in response to an audit that found evidence of criminal wrongdoing at the Tar Creek Reclamation site,” said CfA Executive Director Daniel E. Stevens in a press release issued by Nov. 27, 2017, by CfA. “Why did he refuse to bring charges? We don’t know because the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office has repeatedly refused to release documents related to this audit.”
Pruitt claimed if released the information in the audit might unfairly embarrass private civilians.
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.