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Energy Department transfers Salmon Site to state

LAMAR COUNTY — The U.S. Department of Energy has transferred the Salmon Site, or Tatum Salt Dome, to the State of Mississippi.

“Independent testing by the Department of Energy and by Mississippi State University under the supervision of the Mississippi Department of Health is complete,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “It is now time for the State of Mississippi to take ownership of this 1,500 acres of land containing over $2 million worth of timber to use for recreational enjoyment, and more importantly, income for Mississippians.”

Located in Lamar County, the Salmon Site sits directly above a large salt dome, known as the Tatum Salt Dome, approximately 10-miles east of Purvis. In 1964 and 1966, two nuclear tests were conducted approximately 2,700 below the ground service. Site cleanup and decontamination began in 1972 and was conducted according to federal standards. Continued monitoring of the site on both the federal and state level has been conducted since that time.

Recent and continued testing by the United State Department of Energy confirms conditions protective of human health and environment. Subsequent testing by Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Department of Health confirmed the results and showed no evidence to restrict the harvesting of timber from the site.

The Department of Energy will retain ownership of all materials and rights below the surface, directly underneath and surrounding the Salmon Test Site. The State of Mississippi will take ownership of the surface and all timber rights. The site will be used for recreational purposes and managed as a working forest. Federal law authorizing this transfer designated the site as the Jaime Whitten Forest Management Area.

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