Residents of Treece moved a step closer to being moved out of their lead-polluted town Thursday when the U.S. Senate approved an amendment to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to buy out and shut down the community.
The amendment was attached to the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act by Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, both R-Kan., and James Inhofe, R-Okla.
The bill passed the Senate on Thursday evening.
The Treece amendment "represents one of the rare instances of true bipartisan support," Roberts said.
It calls on the EPA to "consider all appropriate criteria, including cost-effectiveness" relating to the buyout and relocation of Treece residents because of health risks posed by chat.
Chat is lead- and zinc-contaminated mining waste, millions of tons of which are piled up on hundreds of acres in and around Treece.
Resident Denny Johnston said "that's some good news right there" when he learned that the amendment passed the Senate. "I'm kind of glad to see it going in the right direction."
Johnston is Treece's expert on chat piles, sinkholes and health hazards and has guided tours for EPA officials, members of Congress, the media and others several times.
To read the complete article, visit www.kansas.com.