NATURAL RESOURCE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT
The multi-agency group, known as the Palmerton Natural Resource Trustee Council, will evaluate environmental impacts from historical zinc smelting and waste handling operations, which have resulted in extensive deforestation and soil loss in the area of the Lehigh Gap. The release of hazardous substances has affected the diversity and abundance of plants and the health of wildlife resources. Aquashicola Creek and the Lehigh River have received contaminated runoff at levels that have impacted aquatic life. The US EPA is in charge of cleanup at the Palmerton Zinc Pile Site under the federal Superfund program, but cleanup activities will not compensate the public for losses associated with injuries to natural resources. Parties liable for the site cleanup under superfund law are also held responsible for natural resource injuries and will be asked to compensate the public for such losses by funding assessment studies and restoring or acquiring equivalent resources.
Agencies represented by the Palmerton Natural Resource Trustee Council include the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Public meetings will be advertised and notices sent for future meetings to PCCE. The first public meeting, scheduled for 7pm May 27 2004 at the Palmerton High School Auditorium, will introduce the process, and begin an open dialogue between the Trustee Council and the public.
For more information, please contact:
The Palmerton Natural Resource Trustee Council