Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 2116 (rfs) To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish a program of extended care services for veterans and to make other improvements in health care programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs. [Referred in Senate] ...

H.R. 2116 (rfs) To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish a program of extended care services for veterans and to make other improvements in health care programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs. [Referred in Senate] ...

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  1st Session
                                H. R. 2116

 To direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to 
provide relocation and other assistance for residents at the Tar Creek 
                            Superfund site.



                              May 15, 2003

    Mr. Carson of Oklahoma introduced the following bill; which was 
referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in 
 addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be 
subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration 
  of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee 


                                 A BILL

 To direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to 
provide relocation and other assistance for residents at the Tar Creek 
                            Superfund site.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Tar Creek Restoration Act''.


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The Tar Creek Superfund Site (the ``Site'') is a former 
        lead and zinc mining area located in the northeastern portion 
        of Ottawa County, Oklahoma.
            (2) The Site includes the Oklahoma portion of the Tri-State 
        Mining District of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri.
            (3) The Site is located in one of the most flood-prone 
        parts of Oklahoma.
            (4) Mining began at the Site in the early 1900s and 
        continued until the 1970s.
            (5) Due to water in the ore-producing Boone Aquifer, mining 
        companies were forced to pump large volumes of water from the 
        extensive underground mine workings when the mines were in 
            (6) Much of the mining at the Site was on Indian land 
        controlled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
            (7) During World War I, mining at the Site accounted for 
        more than 45 percent of the Nation's wartime consumption of 
        lead and zinc.
            (8) Mining at the Site created millions of tons of waste 
        tailings, or chat.
            (9) In 1923, the Department of the Interior recommended 
        that chat be stockpiled aboveground at the Site so as to enable 
        later reprocessing.
            (10) During World War II, the Department of the Interior 
        reiterated its recommendation that chat be stockpiled 
        aboveground at the Site.
            (11) In 1960, Congress enacted the Small Producers Lead and 
        Zinc Mining Stabilization Act, which attempted to encourage 
        lead and zinc production at the Site.
            (12) As mining abated in the early 1970s, the vast 
        underground mine workings at the Site began to refill with 
        water from the Boone Aquifer.
            (13) As water filled the mines, the native sulfide 
        minerals, which had been oxidized by exposure to air, dissolved 
        and created acid mine water.
            (14) In 1979, acid mine water began discharging at the 
        surface from several locations at the Site.
            (15) In 1983, the Site was placed on the National 
        Priorities List.
            (16) In 1984, the Environmental Protection Agency began 
        work to remediate the acid mine water at the Site.
            (17) In 1994, after spending millions of dollars at the 
        Site, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that it was 
        essentially impossible to remediate the acid mine water.
            (18) There are at least 1,300 mine shafts at the Site, many 
        of which remain open.
            (19) There are at least 100,000 boreholes at the Site.
            (20) The open mine shafts at the Site are a source of 
        recharge to the underground mine workings.
            (21) Millions of tons of chat scar the surface area of the 
            (22) The stockpiled chat at the Site is laced with heavy 
        metals, including lead, that are toxic to humans.
            (23) The stockpiled chat contributes to the flood problems 
        at the Site and surrounding communities.
            (24) The stockpiled chat stores water that recharges the 
        underground mine workings.
            (25) The stockpiled chat at the Site has been used to 
        construct roads at the Site, as well as backfill for yards, in 
        driveways, in foundations of homes, and other high-access 
            (26) The use of chat in construction has left the 
        residential areas of the Site contaminated with heavy metals, 
        including lead.
            (27) In 1994, the Environmental Protection Agency began 
        work to remediate residential yards that contained unsafe lead 
        concentration levels.
            (28) Scientific studies prove that a large number of 
        children at the Site have elevated blood lead levels.
            (29) Elevated blood lead levels in children have been 
        proven to cause learning disabilities and other severe health 
            (30) Scientific studies suggest that dust from the 
        stockpiled chat presents a danger to human health.
            (31) Because mining left underground cavities at the Site, 
        there have been repeated cave-ins, or subsidences, at the Site, 
        with many greater than 100 feet in diameter. Subsidences have 
        occurred in populated areas and near schools.
            (32) No work has been undertaken by any agency of the 
        United States Government to remediate the stockpiled chat or 
        subsidence dangers at the Site.
            (33) There have been no comprehensive epidemiological 
        studies of the Site.
            (34) Because of its many unique environmental problems, the 
        Site can never be made safe for human habitation.


    (a) In General.--The Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
Agency shall provide assistance under the Uniform Relocation Assistance 
and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4621 et 
seq.) to residents within the 17 square mile area identified in 
Governor Keating's Tar Creek Superfund Task Force Final Report of 
October 2000, including the communities of Picher and Cardin on the Tar 
Creek Superfund site in Oklahoma. The Environmental Protection Agency 
shall be considered the displacing agency for purposes of the 
application of that Act.
    (b) Continuing Responsibility.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
construed to relieve the Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
Agency or any other Federal agency of any responsibility under law with 
respect to the cleanup of the Tar Creek Superfund site.
    (c) Comprehensive Resolution.--The Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency shall work with other appropriate 
Federal and State officials to seek a comprehensive resolution to the 
environmental and health problems related to the Tar Creek Superfund 

Pages: 1

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