The province has designated the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency as aspecial operating agency charged with carrying out the $400-million Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens cleanup project announced lastMay. An order-in-council giving effect to the new designation wassigned today, Sept. 10. A memorandum of understanding signed by federal and provincialministers on May 12 gave the province operational responsibilityfor carrying out the cleanup. The agreement required the provinceto establish a single-purpose agency to manage the project bySept. 30. The province originally established the agency as a division ofthe Department of Transportation and Public Works in 2001 tofocus provincial efforts on the cleanup. Until then, responsibility had been shared among severaldepartments. The agency will now report directly to its ownminister, Ron Russell. The order-in-council spells out the agency’s powers andresponsibilities. Today’s order-in-council transfers current employees of theagency to the newly designated body but retains their civilservice status.