[Federal Register: August 15, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 156)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
Notice of Availability of the Assessment Plan for the Palmerton
Natural Resource Damage Assessment in Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and
Northampton Counties, PA
AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.
ACTION: Notice of availability.
SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), acting as lead
administrative Trustee, on behalf of the National Park Service (NPS),
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the
Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat
Commission (PFBC), the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protection (PDEP), and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources (PDCNR), jointly known as the Palmerton Natural
Resource Trustee Council, announces the release of the Palmerton
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Plan (Plan) for public
review. The Plan describes the Trustee Council's proposal to assess
potential injury to natural resources as a result of a release of
hazardous substances from the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site
(Site), Palmerton, Pennsylvania.
DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before September 14,
ADDRESSES: Written comments or materials regarding the Plan should be
sent to: Steve Klassen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 315 South Allen
Street, Suite 322, State College, Pennsylvania 16801. Requests for
copies of the Plan may be made to the same address. The Plan will also
be available at the Palmerton Library, 402 Delaware Avenue, Palmerton,
18071, and on the Internet at the following site: http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/restorationplans/palmerton/palmerton.cfm
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Klassen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, Pennsylvania Field Office, 315 South Allen Street, Suite 322,
State College, Pennsylvania 16801. Interested parties may also call
814-234-4090 for further information.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Site is located in the Ridge and Valley
Province of Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania.
Facilities at the Site include the East and West Plants of the former
New Jersey Zinc Company, a primary zinc smelting facility. This
facility discharged metals to the surrounding environment via air
emissions and through the release of solid wastes, including the
creation of a large waste pile (the ``cinder bank''). Hazardous
substances released to the environment from these facilities include
arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, manganese, and zinc (metals).
The release of these metals resulted in the contamination and
defoliation of thousands of acres of land including Federal (NPS) and
State (PGC) lands adjacent to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Past and ongoing releases of metals have also adversely affected area
waters including Aquashicola Creek, the Lehigh River, and groundwater.
Due to hazardous substances released from industrial activities, the
Site was included on the National Priorities List in 1983, by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is acting as the lead
response agency overseeing cleanup of the Site, which is being carried
out by the potentially responsible parties, Viacom International, Inc.
and Horsehead Corporation.
Under Federal regulations, the Federal government, States, and
Indian tribes are authorized as natural resource trustees to recover
damages from responsible parties for injuries to natural resources
caused by the release of hazardous substances. This process is intended
to compensate the public for lost natural resources and to restore
services provided by those resources. The natural resource trustees for
this matter include: The FWS; the NPS; the NOAA; the PGC; the PFBC; the
PDEP; and the PDCNR.
The Trustees have developed a Memorandum of Agreement that provides
a framework for continued cooperation and coordination. The Trustees
have determined through a Preassessment Screen that an assessment is
warranted. A Notice of Intent (NOI) to perform an assessment was issued
to Viacom International, Inc., the Potentially Responsible Party,
indicating that the Trustees intend to proceed with NRDA procedures for
the Site. The NOI invited Viacom to participate in a cooperative injury
assessment, and Viacom has since entered into a cooperative funding
agreement designed to provide a framework for a cooperative NRDA
The purpose of this Plan is to guide the actions of the Trustees
through the NRDA process. This Plan outlines the Trustees' proposed
plans to document and evaluate potentially injured resources. The
Trustees intend to focus on the loss of ecological and human use
services resulting from injuries to natural resources. Such lost
services include impairment of terrestrial, floodplain, and aquatic
flora and fauna; supporting habitats; and public use of natural
resources (e.g., hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching).
The Trustees will assess suspected injuries to natural resources
using existing data, as well as those proposed to be collected as part
of the assessment. The Trustees will further analyze the identified
natural resource injuries to evaluate the lost ecological and human use
services provided by those resources. The evaluation will focus on
baseline services that would have been provided had the hazardous
substances not been released.
Interested members of the public are invited to review and comment
on the Plan. Copies of the Plan are available for review at the
Service's Pennsylvania Field Office located at 315 South Allen Street,
State College, Pennsylvania 16801, the Palmerton Library located at 402
Delaware Avenue, Palmerton, Pennsylvania 18071, and on the Internet at:
Author: The primary author of this notice, on behalf of the Trustee
Council, is Steve Klassen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pennsylvania
Field Office, 315 South Allen Street, State College, Pennsylvania
Authority: The authority for this action is the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 as
amended, commonly known as Superfund (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.), and
the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Regulations found at 43 CFR
Dated: July 14, 2005.
Geoffrey L. Haskett,
Acting Regional Director, Region 5, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
U.S. Department of the Interior, Designated Authorized Official.
[FR Doc. 05-16102 Filed 8-12-05; 8:45 am]
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