EPA Announces Superfund Task Force Final Report and Plans to Continue Program Improvements
Recognizes City of North Kansas City and Rio Tinto Mining Company
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lenexa, Kan., Sept. 9, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the completion of the Superfund Task Force and issued the Task Force’s final report outlining significant accomplishments over the past two years at Superfund sites across the country.
EPA also presented Leading Environmentalism and Forwarding Sustainability (L.E.A.F.S.) awards to the city of North Kansas City, Missouri, and Rio Tinto Assets Under Management (AuM) for excellence in working cooperatively with Region 7 to ensure the redevelopment of the Armour Road Superfund Site is complimentary with the cleanup actions taken.
“Thanks to the hard work of EPA career officials, the Superfund Task Force has strengthened the program in numerous ways, from accelerating cleanups to promoting redevelopment to improving community engagement,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The recommendations generated by the Task Force and applied by the Superfund program have directly improved the health and economic opportunity of thousands of people living near Superfund sites. We are taking concrete steps to ensure that the work of the Task Force continues to enhance the Superfund program moving forward.”
“The Armour Road Site is a prime example of what is possible when federal and local governments collaborate with private parties in the interest of both environmental cleanup and economic development,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “The cleanup of this site has brought tremendous growth and opportunity to the area, bringing new businesses and a substantial number of jobs.”
The Armour Road Site cleanup was meticulously managed by EPA in coordination with the city of North Kansas City and Rio Tinto AuM, one of the site’s Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs). The efforts resulted in an expedited and efficient cleanup and redevelopment of the site.
The site is currently being redeveloped by the city of North Kansas City as part of a large area-wide redevelopment initiative.
Superfund Task Force
Commissioned in May 2017 to provide recommendations on how EPA could streamline and improve the Superfund Program, the Task Force issued its initial report in July 2017 with 42 recommendations in five goal areas. Based on the collective experience of EPA’s career staff and others, the recommendations offered important suggestions for improving the program and expediting site cleanups through remediation and back to productive use. By implementing the recommendations over the past two years, the Task Force has helped to provide certainty to communities, states, tribes and developers that the nation’s most hazardous sites will be cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible.
The important work of the Task Force will continue under the Superfund Program and at all sites on the National Priorities List (NPL). The Agency continues to prioritize expediting cleanups to protect people’s health and the environment. Moving forward, EPA plans to:
- Improve accountability and ensure the work continues in the future by tracking and reporting on our progress with a new set of performance measures: Superfund Task Force Metrics page
- Conduct a strategic and comprehensive portfolio review of every site remaining on the NPL to enable EPA to better utilize the Task Force’s tools and lessons learned in advancing cleanups across the country.
- Continue to identify and implement new opportunities and approaches to improve the program’s performance and effectiveness.
Highlights of the Superfund Task Force Accomplishments
Goal 1: Expediting Cleanup and Remediation - The Task Force developed several tools to expedite cleanup and remediation at sites including the Administrator’s Emphasis List, a list of sites targeted for the administrator’s immediate and intense attention. The Agency will continue using the Emphasis List to focus on sites needing immediate and intense attention and will update the list quarterly.
Goal 2: Reinvigorating Responsible Party Cleanup and Reuse - The Task Force developed new enforcement guidance for EPA’s regional offices to accelerate remedial design starts at potentially responsible party (PRP)-lead Superfund sites. Moving forward, the guidance’s recommended settlement strategy will be considered by EPA regions as a matter of national practice.
Fredericktown, Missouri: At the Madison County Mines Site, EPA entered into an administrative settlement with Missouri Mining Investments, LLC to conduct removal actions at the site. This will result in the consolidation and capping of on-site mine waste and allow the approximately 1,750-acre property to be redeveloped for future mining of cobalt and other metal
Goal 4: Promoting Redevelopment and Community Revitalization - The Task Force worked to increase the number of NPL sites that are returned to communities for redevelopment through focused management attention and improved program practices. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, EPA achieved the goal "Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use" at 51 sites, the highest total since FY 2013. EPA will continue to post specific information about sites available for redevelopment prominently on the Superfund Redevelopment website for stakeholders, developers and businesses seeking information.
EPA developed and released a Partnership and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy to strengthen EPA partnerships and increase public participation and transparency at Superfund sites across the country.
- EPA developed a Risk Communication Strategy to improve risk communication and community involvement practices during the long-term stewardship phase of Superfund site remediation. Lessons learned from implementing this plan will be applied across the life cycle of the Superfund process.
Learn more about EPA’s Superfund Task Force and the final Superfund Task Force Report
View a storyboard highlighting Superfund Task Force success stories across the country
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