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Meyer to oversee mine cleanup

A $447 million trust established to pay for Superfund cleanup in the Coeur d’Alene River basin has hired its first full-time employee.

Dan Meyer will start work Jan. 1. He most recently worked for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, where he was responsible for cleanup of residential and commercial properties in the Bunker Hill Superfund site. Meyer is also a former environmental manager for Hecla Mining Co.

Dan Silver, the fund’s trustee, said Meyer’s extensive contacts with the mining community, regulatory agencies and local community leaders will be assets on the job.

Money in the fund comes from Asarco, a former mine operator in Idaho’s Silver Valley. The fund was set up in 2009 as part of Asarco’s bankruptcy proceeding.

The trust is expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next several decades to clean up historic mine waste. The projects will be selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Meyer will open an office in January. Starting in 2011, the trust will begin hiring local engineering and construction firms for cleanup work.