Capito Joins EPA Administrator Wheeler for Minden Environmental Cleanup Announcement
Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area added to national priorities list to clean up contamination, protect communities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler in Minden, West Virginia, today to announce EPA is adding seven sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks—including the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area.
The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only releases at sites included on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.
“This was a real group effort, and I’m so glad that we are finally seeing this site make it on the Superfund priority list,” Senator Capito said. “It’s taken some work to get us here. We’ve worked closely with Administrator Wheeler and many others at EPA to make this happen for a while now, and this is an important designation. It’s not only an acknowledgement of the work that needs to be done, but it’s also a commitment from the federal government—a commitment of attention and resources and a commitment to provide more financial and technical assistance to clean up this site and any lingering PCB pollution in the surrounding area. That also means delivering a new sense of safety and certainty to all those who call Minden home, and it means providing for the health and wellbeing of West Virginians.”
“By adding the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area to the National Priorities List, we are taking action to clean up the site and protect the health of the local community,” Administrator Wheeler said. “EPA listened closely to the concerns of the community in making this decision, and our commitment to the Minden community is that a site on the National Priorities List will be a true national priority.”
While EPA may find contamination during its own investigations, EPA typically initiates Superfund involvement because states, tribes, or citizens ask for the agency’s help. Senator Capito wrote to then Acting Administrator Wheeler in August 2018 to request EPA add the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area to the NPL. A copy of her letter is available here.
Community partnerships are critical to Superfund site cleanups. EPA’s goal is to involve community partners in the cleanup process at every site, including exploring future site uses, thereby giving EPA the best chance of transforming the site into a productive community resource.
Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24 percent within 3 miles of sites after cleanup.
Redeveloped Superfund sites can also generate a great deal of economic activity. Thanks to Superfund cleanups, certain properties are now being used for a wide range of purposes—including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, and warehouses. At 529 Superfund sites returned to productive use, 8,600 businesses operate and 195,000 employees earn more than $13 billion in annual income.
More information about Superfund and the NPL is available here.
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