Senate Passes Bill Making Texas National Commercial & Federal Dumping Ground
Dump supporters twist arms to reconsider amendment capping the amount of federal nuclear weapons waste dumped in Texas.
AUSTINThe Texas Senate today voted to pass CSHB 1567, a bill allowing the first ever national compact waste facility to open, and committing Texas to become a national dumping ground for mountains of federal nuclear weapons waste.
A crucial amendment by Sen. Duncan (R-Lubbock)--co-author of the bill--proposing a cap of 36 million cubic feet of federal waste was initially passed. This amendment would have allowed the license holder (widely presumed to be Waste Control Specialists) to make $1.04 billion dollars in the first five years. Apparently, this was not enough money. Minutes later, Waste Control Specialists supporters re-grouped on the Senate floor and voted to reconsider the amendment. The cap was lifted to a whopping 126 million cubic feet. This would allow the license holder to make over $100 billion.
"Blatant greed won out today," said Erin Rogers, Sierra Club spokesperson. "This bill is a monumental mistake for Texas and a huge financial windfall for one private company."
The Senate rejected several amendments designed to protect Texans from some of the worst environmental and financial problems created by the bill. Among the amendments rejected were:
o an amendment requiring the most concentrated 10% of the waste to be disposed of in above-ground vaultsand amendment that the House voted to adopt (Barrientos)
o an amendment increasing the post-closure financial security to at least $100 million, from a sorely inadequate $20 million (Shapleigh)
o an amendment to ensure that local fire departments and other first responders to transport accidents were adequately trained and equipped to handle radioactive waste accidents (Madla)
The bill now heads to conference committee and then to Gov. Perry, who has received at least $175,000 from the two owners of Waste Control Specialists in the last two years.
The Sierra Club calls on Gov. Perry to veto the bill.
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