Trump administration highlights 31 contaminated sites with business potential

Trump administration highlights 31 contaminated sites with business potential
© Greg Nash

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is highlighting 31 contaminated land sites across the country for their redevelopment and commercial potential.

The agency flagged notable Superfund sites in a list published Wednesday in an effort to direct "interested developers and potential owners" to what they call "formerly contaminated" sites.

Spots listed include the Allied Paper site on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and Eagle Mine in Colorado.

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The EPA lists the two among the sites with the "greatest expected" potential to be redeveloped in their communities. In its plan, the EPA says it will work to identify interested businesses and developers to reuse the Superfund sites.

“EPA is more than a collaborative partner to remediate the nation’s most contaminated sites, we’re also working to successfully integrate Superfund sites back into communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittInterior chief Zinke to leave administration EPA to pursue final 'science transparency' rule in 2019 Trump administration to unveil strategy for fighting lead exposure MORE in a statement. “Today’s redevelopment list incorporates Superfund sites ready to become catalysts for economic growth and revitalization.”

The EPA came up with the list following a number of recommendations from the Superfund Task Force in 2017. The task force gave 42 recommendations to streamline and improve the Superfund program, including expediting cleanup and remediation and engaging partners and stakeholders.

Pruitt has made cleaning up Superfund sites a focus of his tenure even while the Trump administration works to cut funding and diminish positions at the EPA.

Yet Pruitt has also been critiqued for taking credit for cleaning up sites where the majority of remediation occurred under the previous administration.

An Associated Press analysis found that all seven of the sites that were partially or fully removed from the priorities list in 2017 were cleaned up before Pruitt took over the agency last year. 

At the time, however, Pruitt appeared to take credit, saying in a statement, "We have made it a priority to get these sites cleaned up faster and in the right way."

He added: “The Superfund program is carrying out the agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment more every day.”