Even the most vocal component of our local red-state anti-everything contingent should be applauding this news regarding the federal stimulus spending in the Coeur d’Alene basin. We got notice of this DEQ press release yesterday, announcing the end-of-season statistics that show the stimulus spending has put the yard cleanup program in the upper basin nearly two years ahead of schedule. The program, which removes a layer of contaminated soils and replaces it with a foot of clean topsoil, is designed to eliminate one of the main pathways of lead poisoning of children in the Silver Valley.
So, in more important terms, the stimulus spending means that 344 more families had their properties remediated to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) exposure to lead-contaminated soils. The modest investment of federal dollars – primarily to create and sustain jobs in the region – has resulted in preventing the poisoning of children in up to 344 households this summer. The choice of East Mission Flats as a dump site is problematic, but accelerating the cleanup is certainly not. Jobs, cleanup, and lead poisoning prevention – this is stimulus spending we should all be able to agree on.
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We received the attached communication from EPA this afternoon, as news leaked out about the decision to go ahead with the East Mission Flats Superfund Repository in Cataldo, Idaho. According to the release, “The final decision to allow the project to move forward was made by Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Mr. Stanislaus visited the Bunker Hill Superfund site on August 18 and 19 at the request of Administrator Jackson.
According to the EPA, “Contaminated soils will be disposed of at the EMF Repository until the end of the construction season this year, which is anticipated to be November but depends on dry weather. When fully constructed, the East Mission Flats Repository is expected to safely contain 445,000 cubic yards of waste soils from Basin property cleanups.
Other highlights of the EPA release include commitments for enhanced monitoring and restoring a Community Liaison position. Unfortunately the bottom line remains, the EPA will allow the re-dumping of contaminated soils right back into the floodplain of the Coeur d’Alene river, the regular seasonal flooding of which has caused the extraordinary historical mess in the first place..
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