February 04, 2005

Delegation Announces Release Of Cleanup Funds

$15 million set for mining waste cleanup in Coeur dâ??Alene Basin

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig and Representatives C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter, and Mike Simpson today announced $15 million in funding for mining waste cleanup work in the Coeur dâ??Alene Basin. The funding will assist with ongoing Basin cleanup efforts. â??I appreciate the EPAâ??s continued commitment to cleaning up the Basin through the dedication of this much needed funding,â?? said Crapo who sought to secure ongoing federal funding for Basin cleanup through legislation resulting from work with the Coeur dâ??Alene Tribe, the state and local officials, and the EPA. Crapo has met periodically with various EPA officials over the last few months to urge the EPA to allocate appropriate funding this year and in future years to cleanup the Basin. Earlier today, Crapo met with Dan Opalski, Director of Cleanup for EPA Region 10 and discussed Basin cleanup plans. â??This funding is a step in the right direction toward reaching a day when the Basin is no longer classified as a Superfund site. This will bring peace of mind to Idahoans living and working in the Basin, and consistent resources to meet cleanup requirements will better ensure that we reach this day sooner rather than later.â?? â??While I have not endorsed the full scope of what EPA plans to do in the Basin over the coming decades, and I continue to hope that the National Academy of Sciences panel which is reviewing EPA's decision making can bring some common sense to the process,â?? said Senator Craig, â??I acknowledge that EPA will continue moving forward to implement its record of decision year by year. These funds make that possible.â??Otter said, â??It's good to see the EPA allocating the money needed to get the work done in a timely manner while minimizing the impact on the people of the Coeur d'Alene Basin.  Local folks need to be able to raise families and do business and plan for the future with confidence that they will get this Superfund designation behind them. That means focusing cleanup efforts on the real problem areas, with the Basin Commission's sound local leadership.â??There may be a possible $4.6 million in future funding for operation and maintenance of the Central Treatment Plant depending on the outcome of negotiations on long-term operation of the facility.# # #