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HCR 08: Lifting Silver Valley Superfund Protections – 2019

Summary: HCR 8 seeks to remove portions of the Silver Valley from Superfund status, which leave Idaho responsible for future clean-up costs.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: Dead

Issue Areas: Public Lands

Official Legislative Site

House Concurrent Resolution 8, introduced by Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R-White Bird) asks the state to petition the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove certain areas of the Silver Valley from the Superfund list. The Silver Valley was listed as a Superfund site in 1983, as a result of historic mining and smelting operations that contaminated the valley with lead and heavy metals. Significant remediation efforts have taken place since, however many areas remain contaminated with heavy metals and toxic residues.

HCR 8 would remove the Superfund designation from populated areas, including: Kellogg, Smelterville, Pinehurst and other communities. While the  resolution is non-binding, if EPA were to remove Superfund designation, it could threaten public health in the event of recontamination. Every spring, residential properties remain at risk of being recontaminated from metal pollution upstream and surrounding the towns, especially during flood events. As a result, lifting the Superfund designation could leave Idaho in a position to have to cover costly cleanup.

The House Resources Committee voted to “hold” the HCR 8 in committee on February 19, 2019.