Peter DeFazio

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-04) recently announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to clean up several ecologically-damaged sites in the Pacific Northwest including the abandoned Formosa mine near Riddle.

The Douglas County site is among 49 sites across the nation that will benefit from a $1 billion investment from the BIL to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at other sites around the country.

“The bipartisan infrastructure law is already delivering in big ways, with dozens of long-overdue cleanup projects receiving funding, including the long-abandoned Formosa Mine,” said DeFazio.

 “For decades, the abandoned mine has discharged millions of gallons of poisonous toxic heavy metals annually, which contaminate surface water, groundwater, soils, and sediment with heavy metals. The leaching toxins kill everything in its path, destroying critical fish habitat, and poisoning groundwater and drinking water, threatening the health and safety of local communities near the South Fork of Middle Creek. The funding will go a long way to repair the environmental damage, from which communities have suffered for far too long. It is past time to focus resources and undo the damage that has caused the most environmental degradation by mining in Oregon’s history.”

The 76-acre Formosa Mine site is located on Silver Butte in Douglas County. This abandoned mine discharges millions of gallons of acid rock drainage and toxic metals into the upper reaches of the Middle Creek and South Fork Middle Creek watersheds every year. These discharges have contaminated surface water, groundwater, soils, and sediment with heavy metals.

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