Oklahoma, Texas Get More Than $100M to Clean Up Contaminated Sites

December 11, 2009

Oklahoma will receive almost $40 million to fund environmental cleanup and restoration at contaminated mining sites in the state, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said. Texas will receive about more than $80 million for contaminated sites near El Paso and Houston, according to Texas AG Greg Abbott.

The funds are those states’ share of a settlement reached by the federal government, 19 states, several tribal governments and American Smelting and Refining Co. LLC (ASARCO). The settlement is part of the Arizona company’s bankruptcy reorganization.

Oklahoma will receive $39.7 million.

Of that, Edmondson said, about $28.6 million will be used by the Tar Creek Trustee Council to repair natural resource damages at the Tar Creek Superfund site.

Another $8.8 million will be divided between the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Oklahoma Secretary of the Environment for response costs and natural resources damages at Tar Creek.

DEQ will use the remaining $2.2 million for past and future response costs at U.S. Zinc sites in Henryetta and Kusa and the Federated Metals site in Sand Springs.

Nationally the settlement is valued at $1.79 billion and addresses environmental cleanup and restoration at more than 80 hazardous material sites in 19 states

In Texas $52 million will go toward environmental cleanup efforts at Asarco’s shuttered El Paso smelter. Under a separate settlement agreement that arose during the same bankruptcy case, ASARCO agreed to spend $29 million on the remediation of a low-lever radioactive waste facility near Houston, the Texas AG’s office said.

Sources: Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, Texas Attorney General’s Office

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