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Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho

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The tribe rejected an offer for a privately funded cleanup of a St. Maries log yard that could be the state's next Superfund site. The yard leaches creosote, a carcinogen that can cause blistering and peeling of skin, into the nearby St. Joe River. Tribe scientist Phil Cernera said there is an offer he could not discuss in detail, to help pay for a cleanup. The offer surfaced in recent negotiations. The Environmental Protection Agency can sue potentially responsible parties to pay for a cleanup on a Superfund site. In this case the current operator, Carney Products Ltd., the city of St. Maries and a former operator now in Minnesota. While neither the tribe nor the agency is jumping at the initial offer, Cernera said the parties will continue to negotiate a solution that could head off listing the site as a Superfund. The announcement of possibly adding the site to the list has been met with strong protest from local and sate elected officials as well as St. Maries business owners. Jim Comerford, Carney Products president, said his company is willing to shoulder the financial burden of cleanup "within reason" though his company did not contribute to the pollution problem.