February 02, 2005

Crapo Urges NAS To Include Public InputIn North Idaho Review

Senator addresses review panel in Wallace

Wallace - The National Academy of Sciences has the opportunity to better address the concerns of local residents in a review of cleanup actions in North Idaho. That was the message carried by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo today to the NAS board during a public hearing in Wallace. The NAS is conducting the hearing as part of its independent review of EPA actions in the Coeur dâ??Alene Basin.Last month, Crapo criticized an EPA ombudsman report on the agencyâ??s actions in the Basin. He said the ombudsman was too hasty in applauding EPAâ??s expansion of a Superfund designation and that it dropped from the report many concerns raised by local residents. He said today the NAS could correct those mistakes by instead using independent science and research to gather an accurate review of the EPAâ??s Record of Decision. â??Today, during the public sessions, you will hear the views of fellow Idahoans regarding the remedies proposed for the site and the potential effects further altering the Basin will have on their lives, â?? Crapo said. â??The Idaho congressional delegation requested this independent scientific review because we understand and share these concerns and need answers to questions regarding the merit of the science used by the EPA in developing remedies for the Coeur dâ??Alene Basin.â??You will undoubtedly hear from many who are concerned about the EPA ombudsmanâ??s recently-released report regarding EPAâ??s actions to clean up the Coeur dâ??Alene Basin. Unfortunately, this report ignores much of local residentsâ?? concerns about the cleanup. Those questions must be addressed, and we simply must ensure that the science used to clean up the Basin is accurate.â??You are well into the substantial task at hand--addressing questions about the data and analysis needed and used in developing the cleanup plan, the appropriate application of analytical models for determining the blood lead levels in children, and the effectiveness of the EPAâ??s remediation. I hope that your visit to the Coeur dâ??Alene Basin and conversations with the people of North Idaho will help you in the process.â??Cleanup of the Basin must be based on sound science and a solid, locally-driven cleanup plan. Providing for the ample involvement of Basin residents and Tribal members is the best way to ensure that the plan fits the needs of the Basin, â?? Crapo added.Crapo, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee overseeing EPA actions, got legislation passed in the Senate seeking more independence for the EPA ombudsmanâ??s office. He cited local plans to create a Coeur dâ??Alene lake management plan as one example where the NAS could recognize local science the EPA ombudsman rejected in his report. # # #