PRESS ADVISORY – Event on Wednesday,
January 14, 2009
Contact: Cyrus Reed, 512-740-4086 or 512-477-1729
Rose Gardner 575-394 0261 or 575-390-9634
Sierra Club Calls on TCEQ Commissioners to reject making Texas home to the United States’ largest, commercial radioactive waste dump
Sierra Club asks TCEQ to reject WCS’ additional license and to hold a contested case about it at hearing tomorrow at 9:30 AM at TCEQ offices in Austin – Building E, Room 201
(Austin) -- The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club filed their legal reply to Waste Control Specialist’s proposed low-level radioactive waste license, and called upon the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to either reject the license or at least refer it to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) for a Contested Case Hearing on behalf of the Sierra Club’s members in Eunice, New Mexico.
The TCEQ Commissioners are scheduled to consider Sierra Club’s hearing request tomorrow at 9:30 AM at TCEQ’s offices in Austin.
In submitting its request, the Sierra Club noted that the Environmental Analysis prepared by the agency showed that basic facts about the proposed sites – its final design, radioactive safety program, the level of the water tables, saturation levels and the exact location of the “dry line” were not satisfied by the applicant, forcing TCEQ to add conditions to the license. In addition, along with its request, the Sierra Club attached three affidavits from nuclear waste experts Marvin Resnikoff, Diane D’Arrigo and hydrology expert George Rice showing that so-called low-level radioactive waste can travel several miles underground and that previous low-level radioactive waste operations in other states had leaked and that clean-up costs had dwarfed financial assurance measures designed to pay for clean up.
For example, according to the signed affidavit of Marvin Resnikoff, “All
three of the closed commercial Low Level Radioactive Waste
disposal sites in the United States have experienced environmental
problems with water leaking from burial areas. Each of the
sites has required active maintenance and remedial activities
within 10 years of their closure.”
Sierra Club also pointed out multiple inaccuracies and ways in which the application and proposed license failed to meet the regulatory and legal conditions established in the Texas Health and Safety Code.
“Essentially what we are telling TCEQ in our initial comments and final reply is ‘Do your job and force the applicant to meet the requirements of the law before you put the public at risk by approving a faulty application to dispose of some of the most dangerous substances known to man’,” said Cyrus Reed, conservation director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “And
if not, give us a hearing and we will prove it.”
Rose Gardner, a resident of Eunice, New Mexico, noted in her affidavit that her flower shop, general feed store, crops, animals and health were put at risk by the opening of a major commercial radioactive waste site only miles from her home.
“While many people in Andrews County support this dangerous venture, it is the people of Eunice, New Mexico who will be impacted by depressed real estate prices and sales, and the people of Eunice, New Mexico who are being asked to trust a license being issued for a site when we haven’t even studied the potential for erosion and wind-blown radioactive particles. We don’t even know from the application or TCEQ’s
process where the water table or dry line is below the site.”
The proposed license, if granted, would allow Waste Control Specialists to bring in more than 28 million cubic feet – and nine
million curies – of low-level radioactive waste to both a State Compact Site – primarily to serve Texas’s two nuclear plants -- and a Federal Facility for Department of Energy left-over waste. As such, the site would eventually become the largest commercial low-level radioactive waste site in the country, with some wastes remaining dangerous for tens of thousands of years.
Reed notes that the proposed federal site could accept some radioactive wastes that are not even containerized, leading to potential direct spills or runoff of radioactive substances.
Alliance for a Clean
Network of 26 state-wide organizations representing over a quarter million
Texans. ACT member groups are united behind four legislative priorities
for a cleaner, healthier environment and a sustainable economy.
Texas Legislature Voting Records, 1993-2007 are available in PDF format.
Studies focusing on the voting records of the individual members of the Texas Legislature. A short narrative describes the bills tracked by the Sierra Club and each legislator's recorded votes.