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Administrator Pruitt Signs Deferral Agreement with the State of Nevada for Anaconda Copper Mine

02/05/2018
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

Weed Heights, NV – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt toured the Anaconda Copper Mine and signed a Deferral Agreement with the State of Nevada to ensure cleanup of the mine.  

“The Deferral Agreement is a perfect example of cooperative federalism in action,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “After working closely with the State of Nevada and local stakeholders, EPA decided that Nevada is uniquely equipped to oversee cleanup of the Anaconda Copper Mine. We will remain actively involved to ensure that the remedies proposed and implemented are fully protective of human health and the environment.”

Under the Obama Administration, EPA proposed to add the Anaconda Copper Mine to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) to make it eligible for federal remedial funds. Atlantic Richfield Company subsequently approached the State of Nevada and proposed to fund implementation of a site wide remedy. In July 2017, Nevada requested that EPA defer NPL listing of areas of the mine not on tribal lands; and since then, EPA has engaged with Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NV), the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, tribes, and stakeholders to complete the necessary agreements to defer the mine from final NPL listing.

“The State of Nevada has secured a path forward to restore and reclaim the full Anaconda mine site on a predictable and transparent timeline. Federal, state, local and private partners have worked for more than a decade to reach this agreement and it was an honor to host Administrator Scott Pruitt in Weed Heights for this special announcement,” said Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NV). “This is a landmark day for those who have worked to accomplish a path toward achieving our shared goal of cleaning up the mine site and I am grateful for the trust of the EPA to defer management of the process to Nevada and the incredible partnership with Atlantic Richfield Company.”

EPA has determined that the State of Nevada meets the applicable criteria for deferral. Under deferral, cleanup at the mine must achieve the same level of human health and environmental protection as a site on the NPL and must meet all applicable federal and state requirements. EPA will review whether remedies proposed, selected, and implemented by the State and Atlantic Richfield are protective and will retain responsibility for the operable unit on Tribal Land.

Superfund Task Force. In May 2017 Administrator Scott Pruitt established a task force to restore EPA's Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency's core mission to protect health and the environment. Click here to learn more.