The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice announced a settlement worth more than $500,000 with El Paso Natural Gas (EPNG) to reimburse government costs related to 19 abandoned uranium mines located on the Navajo Nation, near Cameron, Arizona.
Under the settlement terms, EPNG will reimburse the EPA $502,500, based on its share of field investigations of historical uranium contamination. EPNG, owned by Kinder Morgan Inc., is a corporate successor to two mining companies that operated in the area from 1952 to 1961. The company operates one of the largest natural gas pipeline systems in the country.
“This settlement pays back federal dollars spent on the critical first steps in dealing with the toxic legacy of abandoned uranium mines,” said Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld of EPA’s pacific southwest. “The EPA will continue to aggressively pursue private parties responsible for contamination at more than 500 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation, as it did with El Paso Natural Gas.”
Currently, the EPA is overseeing the work EPNG is performing at the 19 Cameron-area abandoned uranium mine sites under a 2013 administrative settlement agreement. In that agreement, EPNG committed to an assessment of radiation contamination, as well as the installation of security measures such as fencing and signage.