Quapaw v. Blue Tee & United States (Tar Creek Mine Superfund)

The Quapaw Tribe brought suit against mining companies and the United States over the Tar Creek Superfund Site. The private defendants have been successful in having the tribe’s claims for medical monitoring of tribal members dismissed on the grounds that the tribe didn’t have authority under the parens patriae doctrine to bring those claims. Other claims are pending, as is the United States’ motion for summary judgment.

A description of the mine from the recent district court order is here:

The Tar Creek Superfund Site (“Tar Creek”) is located in Ottawa County, Oklahoma and comprises approximately 40 square miles. Beginning in the early 1900s, Tar Creek was site of significant mining activity, and the primary metal for which companies mined was lead. By 1970, most of the mining companies had ceased activities in Tar Creek, but almost 70 years of mining waste had accumulated in the form of chat piles and tailings ponds. Mining waste has caused significant damage to the natural resources of the area and has allegedly made the area dangerous for human habitation as well. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) placed Tar Creek on the National Priorities List in 1981 and began remedial work in 1982. The EPA is still working to clean up the mining waste at Tar Creek, and no estimated date for completion of the EPA’s work has  been announced.

And here the relevant materials:

Blue Tee Motion

Quapaw Response to Blue Tee Motion

Blue Tee Reply

DCT Order Granting Blue Tee Motion

US Motion

Quapaw Response to US Motion

US Reply Brief

DCT Order on US Motion — forthcoming?

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