WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Congressman Dan Boren (D-Okla.) and Governor Brad Henry today announced an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant of $6,240,000 for the continuing cleanup of the Tar Creek Superfund Site to be made available immediately.
Senator Inhofe said, "As we continue the important work at the Tar Creek Superfund Site in Northeast Oklahoma, this grant will provide $6.24 million to further the buyout of residents as well as the demolition or relocation of homes, businesses, and public uses structures in areas susceptible to collapse. Through my leadership position on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I have been able to secure essential funding to bring the clean-up of Tar Creek near completion. Because of the successful collaboration between me, Congressman Boren and Governor Henry, the finish line is now in sight."
Congressman Boren said, "I am pleased these critical resources are being allocated to the Tar Creek area. Thousands of hard-working Oklahomans have been negatively impacted by living near one of the nation's largest Superfund sites, and this funding will help bring closure for many of them. I would like to commend both Senator Jim Inhofe and Governor Brad Henry on their leadership and dedication to bringing this federal assistance to the families of northeast Oklahoma."
Governor Henry said, "This is more good news for the people in the Picher and Cardin areas, and I appreciate Sen. Inhofe's leadership on this issue. This has been a long, difficult process and there will be more challenges ahead, but with the continued flow of federal funds, we will complete the relocations in a timely manner."
Senator Inhofe has secured federal funding for both environmental clean up of the Tar Creek Superfund site and relocation assistance for area residents administered by the Lead Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust (LICRAT). In 2005, Senator Inhofe commissioned and funded the US Army Corps of Engineers to complete a subsidence study to identify areas in the Tar Creek Superfund Site at risk from cave-ins. The Army Corps of Engineers completed and issued its subsidence evaluation in January 2006. LICRAT has and continues to use the subsidence evaluation to determine the order of areas for relocation assistance. Based upon the subsidence evaluation, Senator Inhofe authored an amendment redirecting the remaining $19 million of previously appropriated funds for Tar Creek clean up to be used for resident voluntary relocation assistance. Senator Inhofe also included an additional $6.4 million in the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 providing additional funding for relocation assistance. In the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, Senator Inhofe directed EPA to revise its remediation plan to include assistance for residents. Pursuant to that provision, EPA has already directed $13 million toward resident relocation assistance and expedited $8 million of that sum following the tornado, which devastated the area last year. This EPA grant is additional funding toward completing resident assistance at Tar Creek, also pursuant to the provision Senator Inhofe placed in the WRDA legislation.