Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma


A ban on the sale of enormous amounts of mine waste or chat on tribal lands in the Tar Creek Superfund site could soon be lifted, a tribal administrator with the Quapaw Tribe says. The tribe expects the BIA to lift the ban, in place since 1997, soon. "This is something my committee has approved, and I'm going after it as fast as I can," Chairman Ed Rodgers said. "There are just too many up sides to it, and the down sides are few. Of course, we'll have to be careful." Tons of the gravel-like waste form mountains in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma, the majority of it on tribal lands. A massive federal cleanup is underway to remove soil contaminated by the lead-heavy chat, linked to blood-lead levels 10 times higher than the state average for many children who live near the site. New regulations ban use of loose chat in driveways and other places where children might be exposed to it. It is considered safe when bound up with asphalt for roads. Sales of chat from non-Indian lands continued throughout the cleanup. Rodgers said the tribe plans to use water to reduce chat dust, will ship it covered in trucks and use air filters inside the trucks.