The Missouri Department of Natural Resources plans to return $575,000 it received for two new state parks to the federal government.
The Springfield News-Leader reports the money was earmarked for restoration at Eleven Point State Park and Jay Nixon State Park, which were purchased in 2016 but never opened. The funds were part of a $1.79 billion ASARCO lead mining bankruptcy and cleanup settlement involving 11 states.
Spokeswoman Connie Paterson says the DNR believes the money should be used to clean up lead mine sites in eastern Missouri. She says the department will use its own budget to replace the $575,000.
Jennifer Johnson Conner, with the Missouri Sierra Club, questioned why the money would be returned at a time when Missouri State Parks is facing $200 million in maintenance needs at its 91 parks.