A $5 million grant has been made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma in its continued cleanup of the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeast Oklahoma.
The grant actually totaled $4,896,088 and the money will be used in continuing the remediation of contaminated soils from tribal lands.
“I am determined to prioritize Superfund cleanups which are a core part of our mission,” said Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator in announcing the grant. “It’s important that we address state and tribal rights when protecting the environment and natural resources.”
The announcement drew a response from John Berrey, tribal chairman.
“The Quapaw Tribe is fortunate to be true partners with thee EPA. The people of Region 6 have been the best teammates we could ask for, and with the new Administrator Scott Pruitt we fit into the future of the EPA because of our tireless quality work and our ability to do more with less.”
It was in October of 2012 when the tribe signed a Cooperative Agreement to perform the remedial action at the Tar Creek Superfund site, making the tribe the first to lead and manage cleanup of a federal superfund site. The remedial action involved the excavation, hauling an disposal of nearly 107,000 tons of contaminated material.
The site is nearly 40 square miles in size in Ottawa County and was created by abandoned former lead and zinc mines in the area. Hundreds of abandoned mines are filled with water as part of the Picher Field mining region.