For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 2, 2003
Radio Ad Alerts Public to Terrorist Threat
from Nuclear Waste Bill
Bill Set for Debate in Senate Soon; Houston Senators Could Block Consideration
AUSTINThe Sierra Club began running radio ads today that alert the public to a dangerous bill moving through the Senate that could make Texas a target for terrorism.
The ad, which began airing on KTRH-AM and KVNE-FM in Houston this morning, highlights the potential for HB 1567 to make Texas a destination for terrorists seeking radioactive material for use in a dirty bomb.
"This bill paints a target on Texas," said Erin Rogers of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. "It will open Texas up to trucks carrying nuclear waste with inadequate precautions for homeland security."
HB 1567 allows a private companymost likely Waste Control Specialiststo open a dump for a mountain of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons sites around the country.
Incredibly, the bill has no security provisions for the dump. When the bill was considered by the Texas House of Representatives bill supporters turned down an amendment that would have required the dump to maintain the same level of security the federal government requires for nuclear power plants.
Bill supporters in the House also rejected an amendment that would have limited the dump to the least deadly forms of low-level radioactive waste, which is also least suitable for use in a dirty bomb.
"This bill puts Texas communities at serious risk and it should be rejected by the Texas Senate.
"Supporters of the bill talked a lot about how the threat of terrorism creates a necessity for the dump. But 96% of the nuclear waste in Texas comes from nuclear power plants, where it is definitely safer than at a low-security dump."
In an interview with the Dallas Morning News in April, bill sponsor Buddy West insisted that a dump is needed to stop radioactive waste from falling into the hands of terrorists, while asserting at the same time that the type of waste that would be brought to the dump is largely benign.The legislation would open Texas up to hundreds of truck shipments every year of low-level radioactive waste from nuclear weapons production sites around the country. Once the waste arrives in West Texas, it would be unloaded at a low-security dump most likely run by Waste Control Specialists, a private company with an incentive to keep costs low.
In a time of uncertainty regarding terrorism and "dirty" nuclear bombs, it is even more important than ever for the state to maintain full control over any nuclear waste management facility that is created in Texas, and for radioactive waste not to be put on trucks and sent through Texas cities.
An incident in 2001 highlights the vulnerability of radioactive waste that is hauled on trucks. A disgruntled driver hauling a shipment of low-level radioactive material abandoned his truck in a rural area in North Central Texas in July 2001. The truckand its deadly cargowere not recovered for over a month.
Imagine: Terrorists hijack a truck carrying nuclear waste on I-10. They use the nuclear waste to make a dirty bomb and set it off in downtown Houston. Hundreds of thousands are exposed to deadly radioactive smoke and fallout.
Think it could never happen? The Texas State Senate is on the verge of passing legislation that would turn Texas into a national dumping ground for nuclear weapons waste from across the country. Incredibly, the legislation has no homeland security provisions for the trucks carrying the waste or the dump site itself.
Texas state senators Rodney Ellis, Mario Gallegos, Jon Lindsay, Kyle Janek, and John Whitmire from Houston can stop this dangerous bill. Give them a call now and ask them to vote no on HB 1567.
For more information or to find your Senator's phone number, go to
Message paid for by the Lone Star Sierra Club.
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NR 03-022 [NR]