Archive for Saturday, August 12, 2006

EPA outlines cleanup plan for southeast Kansas towns

August 12, 2006


— The Environmental Protection Agency's plan to clean up mine wastes in Baxter Springs and Treece will not include a buyout that residents of Treece are seeking, an EPA representative said.

Dave Drake, an EPA geologist with the Superfund division, on Thursday outlined the $66 million plan to rid the two southeast Kansas towns of chat, mine tailings and other wastes left by the former Tri-State Mining District.

"What we really want to do is make all the mine waste go away," Drake said.

Residents of Treece have been lobbying for a buyout like that involving nearby Picher, Okla., where about $18 million in federal money is available to buy property and to move residents and business owners.

"It's just something we can't do," Drake said in response to a question from Treece resident Gayla Woodcock, who has led the Treece buyout effort. "It's not in our authority."

Treece residents have estimated that a buyout would cost only about $7 million, about one-tenth of the EPA's projected cleanup cost.


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