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Stimulus funding to be used for site cleanups

Friday, April 17, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

JOPLIN — Millions in federal funding is being added to cleanup efforts at contaminated mining sites in southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that Superfund sites in Jasper County and Cherokee County, Kan., will each receive between $10 million and $25 million. The money will accelerate cleanup efforts already under way at the sites.

Congress set aside $600 million in stimulus funding for the Superfund sites across the country.

"EPA has an answer to these challenging economic times," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a written statement. "Under the (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), we're getting harmful pollutants and dangerous chemicals out of these communities and putting jobs and investment back in."

Jasper County's additional funds will be used to continue the cleanup of mining sites and land reclamation between Webb City and Carterville and north of Webb City. The EPA says cleaning up all the county's mining sites will cost an estimated $57 million.

Cherokee County's funds will be used to remove lead-contaminated residential soil in the southeast Kansas towns of Badger, Lawton, Baxter Springs and Treece. The EPA has budgeted about $11 million for the Cherokee County site this year.

The agency has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on cleanup projects since the early 1980s, when mining sites were added to the National Priorities List of hazardous-waste sites.

The states involved, as well as the mining and chemical companies identified as being potentially responsible for the contamination, have contributed to the cleanup efforts.

The projects are expected to take up to 10 years.

The Tri-State Mining District that encompasses parts of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma covers land where lead and zinc were mined from the 1870s to 1970. Some of that area is contaminated with lead, zinc and cadmium.


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