Two prominent northeast Oklahoma businessmen and the chairman of the Quapaw Tribe were among eight people appointed Friday by Gov. Frank Keating to serve on the Tar Creek Superfund Task Force.
The emergency task force, which will hold its first meeting Feb. 11 at the Miami, OK, Civic Center, will examine the issues related to the long-standing cleanup of the 40-square-mile lead and zinc mining area in Ottawa County and present a list of recommendations to the governor by Oct. 1.
Oklahoma Secretary of Environment Brian C. Griffin will be chairman.
Other members are Miami businessman Virgil Jurgensmeyer; Grand Lake businessman Dick Seybolt; Quapaw tribal chairman Ed Rodgers; Sen. Rick Littlefield, D-Grove; Rep. Larry Roberts, D-Miami; Mark Coleman, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality; and Karl Ahlgren, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee.
Jurgensmeyer, whose family operation, J-M Farms, is a major mushroom producer in the state, is a member of the state Board of Agriculture. Seybolt, president of Diamond Coach Corp., is a member of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.
Keating said the task force will examine the health and environmental issues associated with the Tar Creek site, which was designated for cleanup by the Environmental Protection Agency nearly 20 years ago, but still remains one of the nation's worst environmental problems.
"I have the utmost confidence in Secretary Griffin and the members of this body," Keating said. "I am confident they will work diligently to propose recommendations that will lead to the final solution to this longtime problem."