27 March 2007

Environmental Protection Agency declines Opportunity to rename a waste dump

Sadly, the EPA has refused to accept Anaconda-Deer Lodge County's name change for a huge toxic waste repository (see EcoRover 22.March.2007). Because the 4,000 acre toxic site is named the "Opportunity Ponds" after the nearby town of Opportunity, the county and town residents wanted the name changed to the "British Petroleum Ponds." British Petroleum is the parent company of ARCO and the responsible party under Superfund law.

What's in a name? Well, Opportunity Ponds sounds an awful lot like Opportunity-the-town. Whereas British Petroleum Ponds sounds an awful lot like British Petroleum-ARCO the corporation responsible for the toxic waste near the town of Opportunity.

Charlie Coleman of the EPA thought it would be too difficult to accept the name change, given all the documents and maps that are filed under the current name. Coleman also stressed that the EPA was focused on clean-up: “We [EPA] hope we’re able to remove that stigma [of contamination] for the community.”

But that's the whole point, isn't it, Charlie? The British Petroleum Ponds are a permanent waste repository. The contamination, and the stigma, are a permanent feature of Opportunity's backyard. If they are to be a monument in perpetuity, why not have them commemorate British Petroleum and not the town?

Cf. "EPA won't rename sites," 24.March.2007, The Montana Standard newspaper, http://www.mtstandard.com/articles/2007/03/24/anaconda/hjjcjghfjihghh.txt.

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