EPA workshops will inform businesses about future uranium cleanup work

Noel Lyn Smith The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a pair of workshops this week on future opportunities for businesses to complete uranium mine cleanup work on and near the Navajo Nation.

The EPA issued details about the workshops and a request for information in a Friday press release.

A request for information is a market research tool intended to solicit input from businesses and industries, according to the release.

In addition, the EPA is seeking expertise in environmental impact assessments, specifically focusing on uranium mines, the release states.

Jared Blumenfeld, EPA regional administrator for Region 9, said in the release that the agency anticipates spending more than $100 million in cleanup contracts with local and tribal businesses.

"We are looking for their help to make sure our scope of work takes full advantage of Navajo expertise and talent," Blumenfeld said.

The work is part of a $5.15 billion settlement the federal government reached last year with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to fund contamination cleanup activities on the Navajo Nation and in Mississippi, New Jersey and Nevada.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled in December 2013 that Anadarko was liable for environmental cleanup costs for uranium mines and mills that Kerr-McGee Corp. once operated on the reservation.

Under the settlement, 50 of those mines operated by Kerr-McGee, which Anadarko acquired in 2006, face cleanup efforts.

The EPA is working with the U.S. Small Business Administration to hold the workshops, which will provide more information about upcoming contracting opportunities related to the cleanup efforts.

The first workshop is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the CNM Workforce Training Center, 5600 Eagle Rock Ave. NE, in Albuquerque.

The second workshop is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Quality Inn on Arizona Highway 264 in Window Rock, Ariz.

More information about the request for information and the draft scope of work can be viewed at Search under "Search Public Opportunities Only" and enter reference number SOL-R9-15-00014. Deadline for comments is Oct. 9.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.