Thursday, September 24, 2009

EPA tabs Southeast mine for Superfund cleanup

Got this yesterday from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle:

Former Mine on Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island Proposed for Federal Cleanup List

SEATTLE, Wash., Sept. 23, 2009 — Today, the Salt Chuck Mine, located on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, was proposed for addition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s "National Priorities List" of the most contaminated sites in the nation. If listed as proposed, the site will be cleaned up under the Superfund program.

Heavy metals from Salt Chuck Mine tailings are impacting water quality and sediments in Lake Ellen Creek and Kasaan Bay. The contamination affects both salmon and shellfish in areas of Kasaan Bay known as important commercial and subsistence fisheries.

"Salt Chuck Mine is a prime candidate for addition to the National Priorities List," said Dan Opalski, EPA’s acting deputy regional administrator in Seattle. "We believe that protecting both Kasaan tribal community health and the Prince of Wales Island environment will require Superfund's comprehensive cleanup toolbox."

Public comments will be accepted for 60 days. The Federal Register Notice, with instructions on how to comment on the proposed Salt Chuck Mine site, is available here.

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