US Rep. Smith speaks against plan for new Missouri state park

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ U.S. Rep. Jason Smith says a state agency hasn’t been transparent in plans to build a new state park in southeastern Missouri.

The Missouri Republican spoke Monday during a state House hearing in favor of bills to require the Department of Natural Resources to sell land in Oregon County purchased with money from a settlement with the American Smelting and Refining Company, or ASARCO. The company agreed to pay the state $61 million for damage caused by mining.

Some elected officials and residents from those areas say the settlement money should instead be spent in areas damaged by lead mining.

A leader of a local Sierra Club chapter spoke against the bill, saying the park could be a source of economic growth due to tourism.