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Recovery Act Funding to Accelerate Cleanup, Boost Economy, Create Jobs and Protect Human Health at Clearlake Hazardous Waste Site

Release Date: 04/15/2009
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, Cell 213 798 1404

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced up to $5 million in new funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine Superfund site near Clearlake, Calif. The money will accelerate the hazardous waste clean-up already underway at the site. It will also jumpstart the local economy by creating jobs in the Clearlake area. This Recovery Act funding is part of the $600 million that Congress appropriated to the Federal Superfund remedial program.

“EPA has an answer to these challenging economic times,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Under the Recovery Act, we're getting harmful pollutants and dangerous chemicals out of these communities and putting jobs and investment back in.”

This funding will allow EPA to initiate the cleanup of mercury contaminated mine waste that was used to construct BIA 120, the access road to the Elem Indian Colony. This summer, EPA will coordinate with the Elem Pomo Tribe and provide temporary water supply, sewer service and access for EIC residents during a cleanup action.

“This summer, the Lake County community will see the beginning of a mine waste cleanup along an important access road for the Elem Indian Colony” said Laura Yoshii, the EPA’s acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "This work will create dozens of jobs for Tribal members and the community due to this infusion of Recovery Act funding.

The Federal Superfund program was created in 1980 to clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Superfund sites are often found in industrial areas hardest hit by the recession. Superfund cleanups are major construction projects which employ thousands of workers nationwide. The Superfund program is implementing new or expanded cleanup actions at 50 sites around the country and since it began, the program has completed construction of remedies at more than 1,060 of the 1,596 sites on its National Priorities List.

By starting or speeding up cleanup at Superfund sites, Recovery Act funding is also increasing the speed with which these sites are returned to productive use. When a Superfund site is redeveloped, it can offer significant economic benefits to local communities including future job creation.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on February 17, 2009 and has directed the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at www.Recovery.gov.

For more information on the Superfund program, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/

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