Superfund site sign

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — The EPA announced Muskogee's Fansteel Metals could soon make the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. 

Fansteel processed uranium ore from 1956 to 1989. The site in Muskogee encompasses 105 acres along the Arkansas River, this area is also within Cherokee Nation land. Radioactive and toxic residue from these operations were disposed of in acidic ponds. Over the years, the groundwater near the facility became contaminated. 

In January, Governor Kevin Stitt wrote the EPA a letter requesting the site be added to the NPL. 

The letter details a $4.5 million trust set up by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2002, when Fansteel went bankrupt. Gov. Stitt says "the trust money will only last another two years." Stitt said when that happens there won't be any resources to contain the waste from getting in the Arkansas River. 

The NPL is a roster of the nation's most contaminated sites that threaten human health or the environment. By adding this site to the list, the EPA can prioritize federal funding for cleanup and containment. 

"By adding the Fansteel Metals site to the NPL, we are enforcing environmental justice and taking action to remove a threat that impacts the environment and public health," said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance.

"DEQ is pleased that EPA is proposing the Fansteel site for listing on the NPL," said Oklahoma DEQ Executive Director Scott Thompson. "Placement on the NPL will help effectively address environmental issues at the site, create a path forward for site management and cleanup, and protect health and the environment."

President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law accelerates the EPA's work to clean up this pollution with a $3.5 billion investment in the Superfund Remedial Program. 

If added, Fansteel would become the 18th Oklahoma site on the National Priorities List. 

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