[Federal Register: August 15, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 156)]
[Page 47848-47849]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



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, 

[[Page 47849]]

18071, and on the Internet at the following sites: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/restorationplans/palmerton/palmerton.cfm, http://


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: 
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/restorationplans/palmerton/palmerton.cfm, http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/wm/


    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 
part 11.

    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]