Silver Valley's Superfund designation could extend another 90 years

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by Katie Utehs and KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on October 20, 2010 at 8:23 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 21 at 2:57 PM

WALLACE, Ida. -- More than 100 people packed Wallace High School Wednesday night to comment on the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to possibly extend the Silver Valley's Superfund status another 50-90 years.

Mayors of the seven towns in the Silver Valley attended the meeting, along with citizens and representatives of the EPA.

The EPA was taking public comments on its plan to clean up the Upper Coeur d'Alene Basin from years of mining waste under the Superfund program at a potential cost of $1.3 billion.

Superfund is a federal program designed to clean up sites like the Silver Valley that are contaminated with hazardous substances.

Many people in attendance were not excited about extending the Superfund designation of the area where they live.  They said the Superfund designation hurts their economy because it creates a stigma for the region that makes people not want to visit or invest in the area.

Some miners in attendance were also worried about how the clean-up plan would affect current and future mine regulations.

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