For Immediate Release
Rose Gardner, Alliance for Environmental Strategies (AFES), Eunice, NM, email@example.com
Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, Austin, TX,
Susybelle Gosslee, League of Women Voters of Texas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Lodge, legal counsel for Don't Waste Michigan, et al., email@example.com
Wally Taylor, legal counsel for Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Keegan, Don't Waste MI & Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, email@example.com
Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Kent, KentCom LLC, email@example.com
60 Groups to NRC: Suspend ISP/WCS High-Level Radioactive Waste CIS Dump Proceeding, Till Covid-19 Emergency Ends
Coalition calls for DEIS public comment meetings along targeted transport routes in Texas and beyond.
ANDREWS, TEXAS - A coalition of 60 environmental and environmental justice groups, from 22 states, has written the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regarding Interim Storage Partners, LLC's (ISP) proposed Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) for irradiated nuclear fuel targeting the Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) site in Andrews County, Texas. See the letter, here.
The coalition's letter to NRC advises:
All of the undersigned organizations hereby request that the Commission indefinitely extend, for the duration of the national COVID-19 pandemic emergency, the ongoing public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the ISP/WCS CISF proposed for development in Andrews County, west Texas. At the formal termination of the national emergency, as via a safe and effective vaccine available to all people regardless of socio-economic status, we request that the public comment period then be extended for a period of 180 days, post-pandemic. We further request that when in-person public comment meetings again become safely possible that the NRC conduct plenary-style, in-person public comment meetings in the following six Texas locations: San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, El Paso, Midland, and Andrews. We also request that in-person public comment meetings likewise be held, post-pandemic, in more than a dozen cities nationwide, on impacted transport corridors in states outside Texas.
The 180-day public comment period (as opposed to NRC's current 120-day public comment period, currently set to end on September 4, 2020), and nearly two-dozen public comment meetings in more than a dozen states, would match the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) public comment proceeding at the DEIS phase of the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada permanent repository scheme, targeted at Western Shoshone lands. This ISP/WCS CISF proposal is more than half as large as the Yucca scheme: 40,000 metric tons of irradiated nuclear fuel, versus 70,000. But because the CISF is supposedly "temporary," export shipments would double the transport risks and impacts, thus matching those of the Yucca dump targeting Western Shoshone land.
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The coalition letter came after U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (TX-35th) wrote NRC, also urging public comment meetings across the Lone Star State be delayed until after the pandemic emergency -- currently raging in Texas -- ends, and the public comment period be held open until after the in-person meetings are completed, including in his congressional district. Similarly, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-8th) has written NRC, urging the comment period be extended "throughout the duration of the pandemic," and to end it "no sooner than six months after this FEMA-declared emergency has passed."
Of the 60 groups on the letter, six are from TX: Energía Mía; Nuclear Free World Committee of the Dallas Peace and Justice Center; Public Citizen (Texas Office); Peace Farm; Sierra Club (Lone Star Chapter); and Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition. Alliance for Environmental Strategies (AFES), a largely Hispanic environmental justice organization, is based just five miles from the WCS site, across the state line in Eunice, New Mexico.
Of these, Public Citizen Texas Office, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, and SEED Coalition have officially intervened against the ISP/WCS CISF in the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board proceeding. Rose Gardner, founder of AFES, has provided legal standing to Beyond Nuclear in its legal intervention against the WCS/ISP CISF, as well.
Terry Lodge, an attorney based in Toledo, Ohio, represents Public Citizen and SEED Coalition. Wally Taylor, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, serves as legal counsel for Sierra Club.
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