The bankruptcy of mining and smelting titan ASARCO will provide $25.1 million for environmental cleanup at abandoned mining operations in Cherokee County, officials said Thursday.
The settlement money will not necessarily be used to buy out and move the remaining residents of the contaminated town of Treece. A movement is under way to do that at the state and federal levels.
The money is part of a $1.79 billion settlement to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental authorities. It represents the largest environmental bankruptcy in U.S. history, officials said.
Money recovered in the bankruptcy proceedings will be used for past and future cleanup costs at 80 contaminated properties in 19 states.
Officials with the EPA regional office in Kansas City, Kan., said the ASARCO money allocated for Kansas will accelerate efforts to clean up contaminated ground and water in and around Treece, Baxter Springs, Waco and unincorporated areas of Cherokee County.
“The buyout of Treece is a separate funding issue,” said Chris Whitley, spokesman for the EPA regional office.