MAC/20: Mines and Communities

EPA Adds Nine Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund List

Published by MAC on 2012-03-20
Source: Environmental News Service

Will Jackpile uranium also be listed?

Two abandoned mining sites have been proposed for listing as National Priorities Sites under the USA's Superfund programme.

One of these is the Jackpile uranium mine on the land of the Laguna Pueblo people in New Mexico.

According to a 2007 Alert by Mining Watch Canada, until 1982 this was one of the world's largest open pit uranium mines.

"[It] has had a tremendous impact on the Pueblo: socially, economically, and environmentally. While the mine has been inactive for almost fifteen years, and the tribe is currently attempting to reclaim the land, the impact of the mine's presence continue to reverberate through Laguna society...

"[T]he mine has contaminated parts of the reservation (and consequently, those who live and work there) with toxic, radioactive materials...

"In addition, the mine may have caused or contributed to deleterious health effects for many residents, and especially miners, which continue to be experienced today.

"The mine had tremendous social and political repercussions on the Pueblo, too, and probably no other single experience has so influenced the lives of the Laguna people in the modern era." See:

See also:

See: Indigenous World Uranium Summit Honors Nuclear Free Heroes

For previous article on the Superfund: Settling mining damages, the US way

EPA Adds Nine Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund List

Environmental News Service (ENS)

13 March 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today added nine new hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites, and is proposing to include 10 additional sites.

Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country that pose risks to people's health and the environment.

"Protecting human health and the environment and restoring contaminated properties to environmental and economic vitality are EPA priorities," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

"When property is cleaned up and revitalized, the reuse may result in new income to the community in the form of taxes, jobs to local residents, increases to the values of properties nearby cleaned up sites, or it may provide recreational or other services to make the community a better place to live," said Stanislaus.

Since 1983, 1,661 sites have been placed on the Superfund List.

Of these, 359 sites have been cleaned up, resulting in 1,302 sites currently on the list, including the nine sites added today.

There are 62 proposed sites, including the 10 announced today, awaiting final agency action.

Contaminants found at the sites include arsenic, benzene, cadmium, chromium, copper, creosote, dichloroethene (DCE), lead, mercury, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), pentachlorophenol (PCP), trichloroethane (TCA), trichloroethylene (TCE), toluene, uranium and zinc.

With all Superfund sites, EPA works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site, and require them to conduct or pay for the cleanup.

For the newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting major cleanup at the site. So, it may be several years before funding is required to clean up these sites.

The following nine sites have been added to the National Priorities List:

The following 10 sites have been proposed for addition to the National Priorities List:

EPA is withdrawing its earlier proposal to add the Arnold Engineering Development Center site in Coffee and Franklin Counties, Tennessee to the Superfund List. This site is being addressed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act program, and the EPA says cleanup is progressing successfully, the migration of contaminated ground water is under control and measures have been taken that are protective of human health.

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