EPA updates Superfund priority list, San Jacinto Waste Pits removed
- The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday changes it had made to its list of Superfund sites that it's targeting for immediate and intense action. The changes made removed two sites and added three more to the list.
- The San Jacinto Waste Pits in Houston, TX and the Anaconda Copper Mine in NV were removed from the priority list because "cleanup activities progress and completion of specific milestones and timelines at these sites have benefited from the Administrator’s influence."
- The three added sites are the Casmalia Resources site in California, the Delaware Sand & Gravel Landfill site in Delaware, and the St. Regis Paper Company site in Minnesota. "The updated Emphasis List reflects our commitment to addressing Superfund sites as quickly and safely as possible," Pruitt said in a statement.
According to the agency, the sites were removed from the list because at San Jacinto, EPA entered into an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent to begin remedial design, and at Anaconda, EPA pursued an agreement on deferral of final listing on the National Priority List at Nevada's request. While noting Pruitt signed an agreement with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the agency did not elaborate when asked what, specifically, Pruitt's "influence" looked like at these sites formerly on the targeted list.
The target list itself is "intended to be dynamic," and the sites on it will move on and off, according to the agency. The newly added sites have specific issues or milestones listed. For Casmalia, it's making a final clean-up decision and issuing a Record of Decision; for Delaware it's obtaining input on an enforcement strategy to quickly implement action by the potentially responsible parties to address groundwater concerns. For St. Regis, it's determining a remedial action and signing a Record of Decision for residential soil cleanup.
The Superfund Task Force and the targeted list of sites for action have, during Pruitt's tenure at the head of the EPA, represented his "back to basics" approach to running the agency by focusing on clear air, land and water. Some have critiqued Pruitt's approach, saying he focuses too much on "job creation" and boosting industry.
Currently, the EPA has only an acting head of the Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM), which oversees the Superfund. Barry Breen joined OLEM in 2002 after working within the agency on site remediation enforcement. President Donald Trump has nominated Peter C. Wright, currently an attorney for Dow Chemical, to oversee OLEM. Wright has previously written about reforming the Superfund program, and if confirmed by the Senate, could become an influential figure in the agency.
- Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Pruitt Updates List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action
- Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action
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