U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) applauded an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the Jacobs Smelter Superfund Site in Stockton, Utah, will receive funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—the bipartisan infrastructure bill negotiated by Romney and his colleagues—to complete critical cleanup actions and protect human health and the environment. The Tooele County site is among 49 sites across the nation that will benefit from a $1 billion investment from the bipartisan infrastructure bill to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country.
The funds will be used to remove approximately 70,000 tons of lead and arsenic contaminated surface and subsurface soils at the Waterman Smelter area of the Jacobs Smelter Site. The State of Utah will receive these funds through a cooperative agreement with EPA to conduct these cleanup activities, which are expected to be completed within a year to eighteen months, once groundwork is initiated.
“I was proud to negotiate the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will better position Utah and our country to meet the infrastructure-related challenges of the 21st century,” said Senator Mitt Romney. “Because of this legislation, we will be able to deliver long-needed resources to communities like Stockton, which have been awaiting funding to address environmental and health issues as a result of contaminated land.”
“Thanks to Senator Romney’s leadership, Utah will receive much needed funding that will help us better protect the health and environment of those who live and work in Stockton,” said Utah Department of Environmental Quality Executive Director Kim Shelley. “Addressing contamination at Jacobs Smelter is long overdue, and we look forward to making a lasting difference in this community by completing the cleanup process.”
“This is a big victory for the health and safety of Stockton residents and visitors,” said Stockton Town Mayor Thomas Karjola. “I want to thank Senator Romney for ensuring that this project was included in the BIL.”
“We are excited for the action that the EPA is taking and cleaning up the Jacobs Smelter Site,” said members of the Tooele County Council. “We are grateful for Senator Romney and his championing of this effort in Washington and for Mayor Karjola for putting it on the radar screen and getting it moving along here in our county.”
“Today’s announcement ensures these funds are dedicated to a healthier environment for people who live and work in Tooele County,” said EPA Regional Administrator K.C. Becker. “I’m very excited that Congress and President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law could deliver to help cleanup lead and arsenic contamination at the Jacobs Smelter Superfund site.”
Negotiated by Senator Romney and his colleagues, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a once-in-a-generation investment which will address decades of neglect of our nation’s hard, physical infrastructure. Details on how the bill will benefit Utah can be found here.
In 1980, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, known as Superfund, was passed. The novel law gave EPA the authority and funds to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up the most contaminated sites across the country. When no viable responsible party is found or cannot afford the cleanup, funds appropriated by Congress are used. A tax on chemical and petroleum industries provided funds to the Superfund Trust Fund for Superfund cleanups up until 1995. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act reinstates the chemical excise taxes and invests an additional $3.5 billion in environmental remediation at Superfund sites, making it one of the largest investments in American history to address the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities and neighborhoods.
The funds will supercharge the Superfund program to address the toll contaminated sites have on communities. EPA is finalizing cleanup plans and preparing funding mechanisms to get construction work started as soon as possible. For more information about EPA’s Superfund program can be found here.