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Tar Creek settlement approved

Special board approves $366,282 settlement to two companies that did demolition and cleanup work at the EPA Superfund site. Work was halted when it was determined the trust overseeing the work made a technical Open Meeting Act violation.

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: June 23, 2010
ad Henry, House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, and Senate President Pro Tempore, Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

The three approved the claim in a meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes.

The state is using federal stimulus money to pay for the work, Boughton said.

Settling the case was in the state's best interest because attorney's fees "could have gotten out of hand,” he said.

"We would have lost,” Boughton said. "They did the work.”

The Central Services Department is taking bids on the contract to complete the work "so there can't be any problems with favoritism or anything like that,” Boughton said.

"It's going to take probably at least another $1 million or maybe even more than that to finish up,” he said. "I don't even think they're halfway done with that part of it.”

The trust was formed after a 2006 Army Corps of Engineers study showed that the ground above abandoned lead and zinc mines under Picher and the nearby communities of Cardin and Hockerville had a high risk of caving in, prompting a $60 million federally funded buyout.

The area, called Tar Creek, is contaminated by mining waste and is an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site.