Department Of Interior
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to facilitate cooperation among the U.S. Department of Army through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (collectively the "Federal Agencies") in order to work toward a holistic response to the risks posed at the Tar Creek Superfund Site in Oklahoma. This MOU seeks to foster environmental improvement to ensure the protection of public health, and to encourage sustained economic stability and future environmental recovery. This MOU is being entered into for the purposes of coordinating response, reclamation, and restoration activities under the various applicable statutes. The Tribal, State, local government officials, and community members are encouraged to play an integral part in planning the short- and long-term solutions for the Tar Creek area.
The 40 square-mile Tar Creek Superfund Site was listed on the National Priorities List in 1983. This site encompasses the Oklahoma portion of the Tri-State Mining District of northeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas, and southwestern Missouri, and also includes communities in Ottawa County outside the mining area that are also contaminated with mining waste. The towns of Picher, Cardin, Commerce, North Miami, and Quapaw are part of the Tar Creek Superfund Site. Much of the land on the Tar Creek Superfund Site is allotted Indian Land (members of the Quapaw Tribe are beneficial owners). Approximately 30,000 people live in these five cities and towns.
Lead and zinc mining have left
a legacy of impaired human health and environmental
EPA has attempted to address the human health threats to the residents by removing chat from residential yards and from high access areas. This work is ongoing. After yard remediation and extensive health education efforts funded by EPA, a 50% reduction of blood lead levels was seen; however, 12-15% of children still have blood lead levels that exceed 10 micrograms per- deciliter, the concentration level identified by the Centers for Disease Control as a level at which adverse health effects have been documented.
The loss of major employers
in the Tar Creek area and the extent of the environmental problems have
contributed to the weakening of the local economy. The size of the Tar
Creek area and the complexity of the technical, physical, economic, and
political issues that must be addressed to resolve the problems, call
for the Federal Agencies to work in a coordinated fashion with the Tribes,
States, local governments and community groups to develop and implement
a comprehensive solution.
The Federal Agencies have many authorities, but no single authority addresses the full range of issues; accordingly, the Federal Agencies have decided to work together so that their collective authorities may be brought to bear. For brevity, only the main authorities are listed below.
EPA addresses environmental contamination through a variety of programs including:
_ The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.
_ The Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.
_ Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.
_ Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.
_ Section 26 of the Act of March 3, 1921, 41 Stat. 1225, as amended by the Act of April 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 68.
_ Indian Long-Term Leasing Act, 25 U.S.C. 415 et seq.
_ Snyder Act, 25 U.S.C. 13 et seq.
_ Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.
_ The Organic Act of March 3, 1879, 43 U.S.C. 31 et seq.
USACE provides both technical assistance and cost-shared implementation of water resource-related projects through various authorities, including:
" Planning, engineering, design, construction, and project management services on a reimbursable basis from other agencies through the Support for Other Agencies Program utilizing the Economy Act, 31 U.S.C. 1535, and 10 U.S.C. 3036(d). Future agreements are necessary for USACE to perform work under these authorities.
" Planning, design and
construction of various water resource-related civil works projects with
cost-sharing Tribal or non-Federal partners under several Water Resource
Development Act (WRDA) authorities.
In addition to each of the Federal Agencies noted above, the signatories agree that, to the extent appropriate, other Departments and Agencies might have a potential role in economic and housing revitalization [e.g., Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration] and will be consulted during discussions as we formulate a holistic strategy for the Tar Creek area. Partnerships with other Federal Departments and Agencies that stress close coordination and use of a wide range of authorities may effectively link environmental protection, economic development, job training/education and community revitalization.
V. INTERAGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
To provide for consistent communications and to ensure that a mechanism exists to expedite decision-making and to resolve differences, each signatory to this MOU will appoint a Headquarters representative to serve as the point of contact on matters related to this MOU. In addition, each signatory agency will designate Headquarters and/or local representatives to a Federal Tar Creek Steering Committee (Steering Committee) which, once established, will work with the Tribal, State and local governments using a coordinated approach for developing and implementing solutions for the Tar Creek area. The Steering Committee will meet within one month of the effective date of this MOU and will approach the Tribes, State, and local governments within three months of the effective date of this MOU.
This MOU is not intended to either create any rights in or grant any cause of action to any person or to release or waive any claim, cause of action, demand, or defense in law or equity that any of the Signatories to this MOU may have against any person(s) or entity.
This document is not a funds obligation document. No provision of this MOU will be interpreted or construed as a commitment or requirement that any of the Federal Agencies obligate payment of funds in contravention of the Anti-Deficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. Sec 1341, or any other applicable provision of law, in any fiscal year for actions subject to this MOU. Additionally, it does not alter any enforcement authority, response or other legal obligations or other legal requirements of any party. This document does not make a determination as to who is a potentially responsible party or what their response obligations may be.
VII. AMENDMENT AND TERMINATION
This MOU will become effective on the date of the last signature below. Any signatory may propose changes to this MOU. This MOU may be modified only by written agreement of all the Federal Agencies that are part of the MOU at that time. Any of the Federal Agencies may terminate its obligations under this MOU at any time by written notice to the parties who signed on behalf of the remaining Federal Agencies. As long as at least two Federal Agencies remain under this MOU, this MOU shall continue in effect. Through an amendment to this MOU, additional Federal Agencies may join into this MOU by agreement of all the Federal Agencies who are part of the MOU.
This MOU does not supersede previous MOUs on this topic between the signatories.
Selected Press Releases