What to do about mining and metals-related contamination is an increasingly pronounced concern under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), i.e., Superfund, regardless of whether a mine is still in operation, has been closed, or is an orphan mine under the care of the federal government. Plagued by insufficient financing and facing complex risk assessments and remediation decision-making, many such mining sites linger for years without resolution. In addition to their association with several different industrial operations, metals are of course also both naturally occurring and pervasive, making for particularly protracted, complicated, and ambiguous risk assessments outside the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) dominant domain of managing threats to human health.
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