Plans for a new agriculture business at the fomer FMC site near Pocatello could be in trouble because leadership with the Shohone-Bannock Tribes says they have not established a working relationship with the new project.
Leaders with the tribes say they support re-development and the potential jobs it will bring to the area at the former FMC site, but want to ensure any redevelopment is consistent with the proposed remedial action required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The proposed redevelopment project is located on state lands but access to the site will be through the Fort Hall Reservation and require compliance with tribal laws.
“To date, FMC has not provided formation needed to finalize the groundwater extraction system, the groundwater extraction system is necessary to reduce arsenic and other contaminants that continue to flow off the site and into the Portneuf River,” tribal leaders said in a press release today.
The tribe says the FMC site has an estimated 16,000 tons of elemental phosphorus buried in the soils at the old site. Elemental phosphorus generates a deadly gas phosphine, which migrates through the soil.
The tribes says they have concerns for the health and safety of the employees of Valley Agronomics.
Paul Yochum, the spokesman for FMC, replied to the tribes letter this afternoon saying FMC is pleased that the Tribes are supportive of redevelopment at the FMC site.
“Given that 20 percent of the Tribes’ land is dedicated to agriculture, the location of Valley Agronomics at the FMC site is a complimentary benefit to the Tribes’ economy – which contributes significantly to the economic prosperity of Southeast Idaho.”
Under the terms of the Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) issued by the EPA, who is directing the remediation of the FMC site, the Tribes, IDEQ and EPA fully review and approve remediation activity at the site.
“We appreciate the Tribes’ continued participation in that review and will keep them, IDEQ and EPA fully involved in the review and approval of all requirements necessary to locate the Valley Agronomics fertilizer distribution facility in keeping with the remedial requirements of the UAO,” says Yochum.