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Recovery Act Funding to Accelerate Cleanup, Boost Economy, Create Jobs and Protect Public Health at Cherokee County, Kan., Superfund Site

Release Date: 04/15/2009
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., April 15, 2009) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced $10 million to $25 million in new funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for the Cherokee County Superfund Site in southeast Kansas. The money will accelerate the hazardous waste cleanup already underway at the site. It will also jumpstart the local economy by creating jobs in the area. This Recovery Act funding is part of the $600 million that Congress appropriated to the Federal Superfund remedial program.

"EPA has an answer to these challenging economic times," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Under the Recovery Act, we're getting harmful pollutants and dangerous chemicals out of these communities and putting jobs and investment back in."

"These additional funds will be used to remove heavy metal-contaminated mine wastes at more than 120 acres in Badger and Lawton, as well as continuing removal work at more than 380 acres in Baxter Springs and Treece," said William Rice, Acting Regional Administrator. "While these actions are occurring, stimulus funds will support and promote the employment of local companies and individuals who are essential to complete these efforts."

All told, the Cherokee County Superfund Site covers about 115 square miles of land where lead and zinc was mined from the 1870s to 1970. Primarily a rural agricultural area today, the site is contaminated with lead, zinc and cadmium from uncontrolled mining waste piles.

The Federal Superfund program was created in 1980 to clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Superfund sites are often found in industrial areas hardest hit by the recession. Superfund cleanups are major construction projects which employ thousands of workers nationwide. The Superfund program is implementing new or expanded cleanup actions at 50 sites around the country and since it began, the program has completed construction of remedies at more than 1,060 of the 1,596 sites on its National Priorities List.

By starting or speeding up cleanup at Superfund sites, Recovery Act funding is also increasing the speed with which these sites are returned to productive use. When a Superfund site is redeveloped, it can offer significant economic benefits to local communities including future job creation.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on February 17, 2009 and has directed the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at

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More information on the Cherokee County Superfund Site

More information on the Superfund program

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