Hudson Oil Refinery
In 1913, Consumers Oil opened their refinery west of downtown Cushing on what became a 400-acre site after they merged with Empire Oil. In 1943 they were acquired by Midland Cooperative Wholesale. Hudson Oil acquired Midland in 1977. In 1981, Land-O-Lakes dairy cooperative merged with former owner Midland. They closed Hudson in 1982, and it lay dormant but seeping pollutants until 1998.
Viewing the growing environmental disaster resulting from 16 years of toxic chemicals seeping into their soil and groundwater, students in Cushing Middle School began a letter-writing campaign in April 1998 to get public officials to investigate the Hudson site. The EPA conducted soil studies documenting the presence of the following chemicals: tetraethyl lead, hydrogen sulfide, benzene, hydrochloric acid, hydrosulphuric acid, hydrogen fluoride, mercury, arsenic, chromium, ammonia, calcium hypochlorite, and asbestos.
By September that year the EPA began emergency cleanup activities there. In 1999 it was declared a Superfund site and placed on the National Priority List of superfund sites that “presented an imminent and substantial threat to public health and the environment.”
In 2001 the EPA filed suit for reimbursement from the eight former ‘owners, operators, and generators’ associated with the refinery. None of the seven respondents in the suit who had actually operated the refinery paid for their perfidy. The eighth owner who was sued, the only one who had never operated the refinery, was Land-O-Lakes. They acted as a “good neighbor” and for 20 years have been contributing to the cleanup.