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EPA Takes Toxic Site Flooded By Harvey Off Special Cleanup List

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Satellite images show the San Jacinto Waste Pits near Houston on Sept. 2, 2017 (left) when the site was still flooded after Hurricane Harvey and on Jan. 24, 2018 after the waters had receded. Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company hide caption

toggle caption Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

The Environmental Protection Agency has removed a toxic waste site flooded by Hurricane Harvey from a special list of contaminated sites that require the personal attention of the agency’s leader, because it says there’s been significant progress on a cleanup plan.

The San Jacinto Waste Pits are a heavily contaminated area near Houston that is right next to homes and schools, and that has frightened residents for decades. Monday’s decision to take it off the list, and to add other sites, underscores the delicate equilibrium between rigorously protecting public health and expediting the cleanup of toxic waste areas across the country. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt calls this a priority for his agency.

Last year, Pruitt appointed a task force to recommend ways to speed up decisions about toxic waste sites. One of their recommendations was that Pruitt personally

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