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U.S. EPA Removes Anaconda Copper Mine from Superfund Emphasis List

04/16/2018
Contact Information: 
Nahal Mogharabi (mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov)
213-244-1815

LOS ANGELES – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an updated Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund sites. The list represents sites identified by the Regions with concurrence from the Administrator that will benefit from his targeted, immediate and intense attention. The updated list no longer includes the Anaconda Copper Mine in Nevada as cleanup activities progress and completion of specific milestones and timelines have benefited from the Administrator’s influence.

“We are making tremendous progress expediting sites through the entire Superfund remediation process,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “The updated Emphasis List reflects our commitment to addressing Superfund sites as quickly and safely as possible.”

In elevating EPA’s focus on the Superfund program, Administrator Pruitt has been at the helm of efforts to streamline and improve the program, and accelerate the cleanup and reuse of America’s most contaminated sites. Administrator Pruitt has visited the Anaconda Copper Mine as part of his effort to ensure timely decisions for cleanup of the sites to protect the health and environment of surrounding communities.

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.

On February 5, 2018 EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a National Priorities List Deferral Agreement to defer the site to Nevada. 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 response actions on Tribal Land.

In the Pacific Southwest Region, the updated Emphasis List now includes was the Casmalia Resources site in Santa Barbara County, Calif., to spur action on cleanup and redevelopment efforts. The Orange County North Basin in Orange County, Calif., remains on the list.  

Nationwide, the updated Emphasis List no longer includes the San Jacinto River Waste Pits in Texas. In addition to the Casmalia site in California, the Delaware Sand & Gravel Landfill site in Delaware, and St. Regis Paper Company site in Minnesota were also added to the list to spur action. The updated Administrator’s Emphasis List, like the initial Emphasis List, identifies Superfund sites that will benefit from Administrator Pruitt’s direct engagement. The Emphasis 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. 

Background
The initial list – consisting of 21 sites across the country – was released on December 8, 2017 in direct response to the Superfund Task Force Recommendations. It is anticipated that this list will be revised quarterly.

EPA remains dedicated to addressing risks at all Superfund sites, not just those on the Emphasis 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 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 updated Administrator’s Emphasis List can be found here.

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