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January 31, 2004


WASHINGTON--U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced that the Quapaw Tribe has voted overwhelmingly to accept an agreement reached between the tribe and the Department of Interior that will allow the Quapaw to complete unresolved financial and land management accounting issues and thus taking the first step toward an ultimate resolution. After the accounting has been completed, the Quapaw and federal agencies will then work with a mediator in order to reach a fair and comprehensive final settlement. This agreement will result in allowing federal authorities to take action regarding the ultimate solution for the approximately 75 million tons of chat that exist in the Tar Creek area. "This agreement is vital to moving forward," Inhofe said. "These legal issues have existed for decades and have been a major obstacle preventing progress at Tar Creek. I want to congratulate Chairman Berrey and the Quapaw for all of the hard work that has resulted in this success. I am pleased the Department of Interior is doing what is necessary to resolve these longstanding issues and I will continue to use the power of my chairmanship to continue to remove obstacles and get Tar Creek cleaned up." "Before Senator Inhofe called a meeting in his office and brought together the Department of Interior and the Quapaw, we could have never expected this kind of aggressive forward movement," said John Berrey, Chairman of the Quapaw Tribe. "We are very excited to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not only are we grateful for Senator Inhofe's commitment but also for ensuring the support and cooperation from the Department of Interior." This is the first time there has been put in place a process that will lead to historical financial and land management accounting. The resolution of these outstanding legal issues will remove many of the obstacles that have plagued progress at the Tar Creek Superfund site. Senator Inhofe has used the chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee to pressure the federal government to stop delaying, come to the table and remove the obstacles to cleaning up Tar Creek.

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