EPA chief visits Tar Creek Superfund site

Wednesday, November 26th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency became the nation's first Cabinet member Wednesday to visit the Tar Creek Superfund Site, a spokesman for Sen. Jim Inhofe said.

EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt toured the 40-square-mile site with Inhofe, R-Okla., and Region 6 EPA Administrator Richard Greene, Danny Finnerty said.

Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said before Leavitt's confirmation last month that he had agreed to make the former lead and zinc mining site his first post-confirmation trip.

The EPA has spent $100 million at the site since 1995 cleaning up lead contamination in residential areas. But the region remains plagued hazards, including open mine shafts, collapses and water that runs orange with acid mine drainage.

Leavitt succeeded former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman as head of the agency.

Finnerty said the trip came together suddenly Tuesday when Inhofe learned Leavitt would be making a stop in Dallas en route to a Thanksgiving holiday in Utah.