Parties accept Tar Creek pact
Lack of coordinated approach called stumbling block by Inhofe.
WASHINGTON The main parties involved in the controversial issue of cleaning up Tar Creek, the polluted site in northeastern Oklahoma, have agreed to work together on a remedy for the most contaminated area, Sen. Jim Inhofe announced Friday.
Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said the lack of a coordinated approach has been a major stumbling block in addressing Picher and Cardin, the towns that are essentially at Ground Zero of the myriad problems caused by decades of lead and zinc mining.
A consent order will be signed soon, Inhofe said, that will allow the parties to identify remedies.
The parties include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Quapaw Tribe.
"This is the first major legal obstacle to be removed so that we can move forward with the commitment I made when I became chairman of the Senate Environment Committee to clean up Tar Creek after 20 years of waiting," Inhofe said.
John Berry, chairman of the Quapaw Tribe, said, "This step is vital to moving the ball forward on the Tar Creek."
Gov. Brad Henry is scheduled to meet with members of the congres sional delegation and EPA officials here on Monday about Tar Creek. The governor toured the area recently.
Earlier this year, Inhofe announced a $45 million plan to clean up some of the 40-square-mile Superfund site, though that proposal was focused primarily on spots outside of Picher and Cardin.
Rep. Brad Carson, D-Claremore, whose district includes Picher and Cardin, has called for a federal buyout of those residents who want to move.
Inhofe has rejected that proposal, saying there's no consensus in the area for relocation.Archive ID: 1573938
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