|AGENCY||Texas Commission on Environmental Quality|
Notice of Availability and Request for Comments on Proposed Natural Resource Damages Settlement Agreement and Draft Restoration Plan
AGENCIES: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Texas General Land Office (collectively the Natural Resource Trustees).
ACTION: Notice of the availability of a proposed settlement agreement and draft restoration plan for injuries or potential injuries to natural resources from releases of hazardous substances and/or discharges of oil at the Col-Tex State Superfund Site (Site) and notice of a 30-day period for public comment on these documents beginning October 25, 2002.
SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that a proposed settlement agreement and draft restoration plan in resolution of the Natural Resource Trustees' claim for natural resource damages at the Site are available for public review and comment. These documents have been prepared by the Natural Resource Trustees to address natural resources impaired by discharges of oil and/or releases of hazardous substances from the former Col-Tex Refinery in Colorado City, Mitchell County, Texas. The Natural Resource Trustees have reached a proposed agreement with ATOFINA Petrochemicals, Inc. (formerly Fina Oil and Chemical Company); Chevron Environmental Management Company (a successor in interest to Chevron U.S.A., Inc.); and Lone Wolf Land Company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of ATOFINA Petrochemicals, Inc.); hereinafter collectively referred to as the "Settling Parties," to resolve their liability under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for injuries to natural resources and the ecological services they provide.
The opportunity for public review and comment on the proposed settlement agreement and draft restoration plan announced in this notice is required under OPA and CERCLA.
To receive a copy of the proposed settlement agreement and draft restoration plan, interested members of the public are invited to contact Charles Brigance of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Remediation Division, MC 142, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087, (512) 239-2238, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The settlement agreement and draft restoration plan may also be reviewed at the Mitchell County Public Library at 340 Oak Street in Colorado City, Texas or on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Natural Resource Trustee Program website: www.tnrcc.state.tx.us/permitting/remed/site/nrt.
DATES: Comments must be submitted in writing on or before 5:00 p.m. on November 25, 2002, to Charles Brigance at the address listed previously. The Natural Resource Trustees will consider all written comments prior to finalizing the proposed settlement agreement and draft restoration plan.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Site was formerly occupied by a petroleum refinery which operated from 1924 to 1969. It is located on Business I-20 immediately west of Colorado City in Mitchell County, Texas. The Colorado River is located immediately north and east of the Site.
As a result of groundwater contamination and discharges to the Colorado River, the Site was placed in the Texas State Superfund Program in 1994.
A cooperative assessment of injuries to natural resources jointly performed by the Natural Resource Trustees and the Settling Parties resulted in the proposed Settlement Agreement and Restoration Plan. The Settlement Agreement and Restoration Plan require the Settling Parties to provide compensatory restoration projects to restore the injured or potentially injured natural resources to baseline conditions, and to compensate the public for lost ecological services. Details of the injury assessment and the review of potential restoration options are outlined in the draft Restoration Plan.
To compensate for injuries or potential injuries to water quality and aquatic habitats, the Settling Parties will construct 1.5 acres of open-water pond habitat. In addition, the Settling Parties will install a rainwater catchment system to be used as a water source for mammals and birds. The Settling Parties will also provide improvements to abate erosion on 2.4 acres along the Colorado River within and adjacent to the restoration property.
As compensation for injuries or potential injuries to riparian natural resources, the Settling Parties will construct and enhance 21 acres of riparian habitat. This restoration will include the removal of salt cedar trees and the planting of native riparian vegetation along the Colorado River.
To compensate for injury or potential injury to terrestrial habitats and to augment water quality improvements, the Settling Parties will construct 25 acres of native trees, grasses, and scrub-shrub habitats. In addition, the Settling Parties will preserve 35 acres of existing scrub-shrub habitat located adjacent to the Site.
The restoration project lies within an 85-acre tract of land, located just west of Colorado City along the Colorado River. The proposed Settlement Agreement requires conservation easements to be granted to The Natural Area Preservation Association (NAPA) to ensure that the ecological services of the property are preserved in perpetuity. Terms of the conservation easements to be held by NAPA are described in the Settlement Agreement.
The proposed Settlement Agreement also requires the Settling Parties to pay the Natural Resource Trustees past assessment costs as well as future oversight costs.
Paul C. Sarahan
Director, Litigation Division
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Filed: October 15, 2002
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