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EPA Presents National Excellence in Reuse Awards to DOE, Fish and Wildlife Service and Ohio EPA for Fernald Preserve

11/12/2019
Contact Information: 
Adrian Palomeque (palomeque.adrian@epa.gov)
312-353-2035

For Immediate Release: No. 19-OPA114

HAMILTON, Ohio (Nov. 12, 2019) – On Tuesday, November 5th, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented national awards to the operator of the Fernald Preserve, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ohio EPA for their hard work, innovative thinking, and cooperation in restoring and redeveloping the former Feed Materials Production Center in Hamilton, Ohio. Their efforts have ensured that the Fernald Preserve is, and will continue to be, a vital community asset. The former uranium metals production plant operated from 1951 to 1989.

“Cleaning contaminated sites at federal facilities can serve as a catalyst for economic growth and community revitalization,” said Gregory Gervais, Acting Director of EPA’s Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office.  “The transformation of Fernald Preserve from a Cold War legacy site to a beautiful nature preserve and interpretive visitor center is a credit to the collaborative and hard work by the Department of Energy, Ohio EPA, EPA Region 5, FRESH and the Fernald Community Alliance. Fernald Preserve is a model for future cleanup and reuse projects around the country.”

“The Department of Energy is honored to receive this award from the U.S. EPA,” said Peter O’Konski, Deputy Director of DOE’s Office of Legacy Management.  “The Fernald Site has come full circle with restoration creating one of the largest man-made wetlands in Ohio. The Fernald Preserve spans across 385 acres of native grasslands, seven miles of accessible trails and is now home to more than 100 different animal species.  While we are grateful to be recognized, we wish to acknowledge that this achievement is only made possible with the partnership of federal, state and local governments, as well as the input and support of the neighboring community.”

“Ohio EPA’s role as the state regulator was to make sure the Fernald property was cleaned up to protect public health and the environment,” said Bonnie Buthker, chief of Ohio EPA’s Southwest District Office. “This project became much more, thanks to the team of local, state and federal organizations that came together to form a vision not only for remediating the property, but also to preserve the site’s history and develop it into a place to preserve and protect Ohio’s natural environment. Ohio EPA is proud to be part of that team.”

“What a well-deserved honor.  The Fernald Preserve has come a very long way and has become a wonderful community asset to the Fernald community.  Many years later and with a commitment from Ohio EPA, U.S. EPA and our government officials working together have made this happen.  We as a community value the rebirth of this site,” by Lisa Crawford, former Citizens Advisory Board member, Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health (FRESH).

“The Fernald Community Alliance is pleased to see this recognition of the Fernald Preserve.  It again demonstrates the success you can have when all levels of government and the community come together to solve a complex problem” by Graham Mitchell, President Fernald Community Alliance.

To learn more about this site, visit: www.epa.gov/superfund/feed-materials-usdoe.

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