The former Empire Oil Refinery site is located on approximately 200 acres of land, located northwest of the City of Gainesville in Cooke County, Texas. The site was owned and operated by Empire Oil Company from 1916 until the 1930s. In 1982 Occidental (Oxy USA and COOPCO) acquired the former Empire Oil Refinery through a series of mergers. In October, 2000, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in conjunction with other State and Federal Agencies, responded to an anonymous complaint about wildlife deaths on the site. During the investigation responders discovered at least 51 dead birds, six (6) dead turtles and a dead raccoon, trapped in the oily wastes contained in pits on site. Oily sheens and salt staining were observed in the adjacent grasslands, tank pits and Pecan Creek.
In 2008 the Trustees issued the final RP/EA that presented the results of the injury assessment and the proposed restoration actions that would construct and protect at least 133 acres of mixed wetland, grassland and riparian habitat providing compensation to the public for impacts associated with releases of hazardous substances and oily wastes from the Site. Oxy in a “restoration up front” action initiated and completed construction of the habitat, and are proposing to supply a conservation easement which will ensure its protection. Construction and monitoring activities f the restoration project were completed in 2014. In 2015 the Trustees and Occidental reached settlement and the property. Restoration actions are complete.