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KERR-MCGEE DECRIES PASSAGE OF MILL TAILINGS STORAGE FEE: SAYS PROPOSED LEGISLATION WILL DELAY REMOVAL FROM WEST CHICAGO

 KERR-MCGEE DECRIES PASSAGE OF MILL TAILINGS STORAGE FEE: SAYS PROPOSED LEGISLATION WILL DELAY REMOVAL FROM WEST CHICAGO
 OKLAHOMA CITY, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Calling a bill passed by the Illinois State Senate today "unfair and unnecessary," a spokesperson for Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. (NYSE: KMG) urged the state's House of Representatives to reject the legislation.
 "A year ago, we agreed in principle to work together in good faith with the city of West Chicago and the state of Illinois to move the thorium mill tailings and byproduct material from West Chicago," said Dow Dozier, spokesperson for Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. "In the interim, we have found a site for the material, signed a binding contract and agreed to deposit sufficient funds to ensure the completion of the project.
 "We have acted in good faith, but that has apparently not been reciprocated," Dozier continued. "The passage of this bill represents a departure from the agreement in principle. After months of needless delay, the state and city seem far more concerned about working against us than on working with us to ensure the project's success," he added.
 The bill, SB 1529, would assess an annual storage fee of $2 per cubic foot of material at the now-closed Kerr-McGee factory site in West Chicago, Ill.
 "The bottom line is that we said we'd move the material out of West Chicago. We signed a firm contract to move it, and it will be moved," Dozier declared. "If people would just stop shooting at us long enough, we'd load up the wagon and get out of town.
 "The purpose of this legislation is supposedly to pressure Kerr- McGee into moving the material," Dozier said, "but the fact is, this punitive bill will serve only to delay the removal process, just the opposite of what was intended. We don't see who wins with this bill, but there will be no shortage of losers. Among them will be the citizens of West Chicago.
 "If the state and city's goal is to place roadblocks in the way of our good faith efforts, then today's action is certainly a major step in that direction. The truth is, we have done everything in our control so far to move this process along, but we don't control much of the rest of the process," Dozier said.
 "There's no site in the U.S. currently licensed to store this material," Dozier explained. "We contracted with the site most likely to get early approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but we have no control over how quickly the agency will authorize the license. Nor do we control how long it will take the state of Illinois to approve the decommissioning plan. This bill sets an arbitrary deadline, and seeks to hold our company accountable for someone else's timetable. That's not only unfair, it's also illogical.
 "As long as that bill is alive, we have no choice but to spend our time and effort working against its passage. No company in our position could possibly sit still and accept such an unfair burden, and our only prudent course of action is to challenge it in every forum available to us. That inevitably will divert resources from the goal we all share: moving the material out of West Chicago," Dozier said.
 Kerr-McGee acquired the West Chicago facility and the material on the site as part of its purchase of American Potash and Chemical Corp. in 1967. In 1973 the company closed the factory, which had been producing thorium and rare earth materials since the early 1930s. The materials were used in the production of lamp mantles, and a portion was sold to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission during World War II in connection with the Manhattan Project.
 -0- 5/22/92
 /CONTACT: Dow Dozier of Kerr-McGee Corp, 405-270-2877/
 (KMG) CO: Kerr-McGee Corp. ST: Oklahoma IN: OIL SU:


MC -- DV002 -- 3433 05/22/92 16:10 EDT
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Date:May 22, 1992
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