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EPA Prioritizes Cleanup of Anaconda Copper Mine

Twenty-One Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Attention Nationwide

Contact Information: 
Nahal Mogharabi (

LOS ANGELES – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the list of Superfund sites that Administrator Pruitt has targeted for immediate and intense attention. The 21 sites on the list – from across the United States – are in direct response to the Superfund Task Force Recommendations, issued this summer, calling for this list. The Anaconda Copper Mine, located approximately 65 miles southeast of Reno, has been selected.

“By elevating these sites we are sending a message that EPA is, in fact, restoring its Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency’s mission,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  “Getting toxic land sites cleaned up and revitalized is of the utmost importance to the communities across the country that are affected by these sites. I have charged the Superfund Task Force staff to immediately and intently develop plans for each of these sites to ensure they are thoughtfully addressed with urgency. By getting these sites cleaned up, EPA will continue to focus on ways we can directly improve public health and the environment for people across America.” 

In developing this initial list, EPA considered sites that can benefit from Administrator Pruitt’s direct engagement and have identifiable actions to protect human health and the environment.  These are sites requiring timely resolution of specific issues to expedite cleanup and redevelopment efforts.  The list is designed to spur action at sites where opportunities exist to act quickly and comprehensively. The Administrator will receive regular updates on each of these sites.

The Anaconda Copper Mine site covers more than 3,400 acres in the Mason Valley, in Lyon County, central Nevada, approximately 65 miles southeast of Reno. The site includes groundwater contamination, tailings piles, waste rock areas, and contaminated process areas.

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and EPA have taken several emergency removal actions at the site to address immediate concerns, and have required the mine owner to begin remedial investigations and feasibility studies to determine the extent of contamination and potential cleanup options for the site. EPA has initiated a remedial investigation of the portions of the site where no owner currently exists.

EPA proposed the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in September 2016. The State of Nevada requested a deferral of the listing in July 2017, and EPA is currently in negotiations with the state on its request while also coordinating with other stakeholders.

EPA remains dedicated to addressing risks at all Superfund sites, not just those on the list. The Task Force Recommendations are aimed at expediting cleanup at all Superfund sites and Administrator Pruitt has set the expectation that there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country.

The Task Force, whose work is ongoing, has five overarching goals:

·         Expediting cleanup and remediation;

·         Reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties;

·         Encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse;

·         Promoting redevelopment and community revitalization; and

·         Engaging with partners and stakeholders.

The Task Force will provide the public with regular updates as it makes progress on the Administrator’s Emphasis list and other Task Force activities.

The list is intended to be dynamic. Sites will move on and off the list as appropriate.  At times, there may be more or fewer sites based on where the Administrator’s attention and focus is most needed.  There is no commitment of additional funding associated with a site’s inclusion on the list.

The list of sites can be found here.

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