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PSO Gives City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority Site Once Proposed for Nuclear Plant

Matt Trotter

The City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority is the proud new owner of land in Rogers County that was once the planned home of a nuclear power plant.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma President and CEO Peggy Simmons said the utility is transferring to the port authority more than 2,000 acres in Inola where they intended to build the Black Fox nuclear plant in the 1970s.

"They have the ability to invest in the infrastructure to build out some of the rail and other things here on the site, and we thought it was a good time for that to take place. And at the end of the day, I mean, look, this is what can happen when you have 2,000-plus acres and a vision," Simmons said.

Chairman Steve Dowty said the port authority will develop the land into an industrial park with access to rail and the Verdigris River, tying it into a much bigger waterway.

"The unique opportunity for access to the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System will make this site the first new public port in Oklahoma since the Port of Catoosa and the Port of Muskogee opened nearly 50 years ago," Dowty said.

State Commerce Secretary Sean Kouplen praised PSO for transferring ownership of the land with no plan for making money on the back end.

"This is for Oklahoma. This is for Rogers County. This is for this part of the world, and it is tremendous and very, very selfless," Kouplen said.

PSO started thinking about using the land for economic development in 2013, eventually securing Italian paper product maker Sofidel’s new plant for the site. The 1.8 million-square foot plant will cost $360 million to build and is expected to create 300 jobs.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.