Tag Archives: toxic waste

PFS plant is dead – for now

I was glad to read that the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will not even entertain acknowledgment of the plan by Private Fuel Storage to build a high level nuclear waste plant in Utah

PFS has been trying for years to get the go ahead to build a nuclear waste site in Utah.  Each obstacle, like this one, makes it increasingly difficult for this to happen, much to the advantage of not only Utahns, but people across the country since waste would be transported from various sites.

An activist colleague of mine offers this information:
The tricky part here, that may not have been known Monday, is that there is a provision in the Defense Authorization Act to eliminate the requirement that the Air Force conduct a study to see how storing nuclear waste on the reservation could affect operations at the Utah Test and Training Range.  Sen Hansen had put this in in 1999, and it was cited in the BLM refusal to grant the right-of-way that the study was required and had not been completed.  If the requirement is removed, it removes an impediment to the right-of-way, and PFS’s plan.  No one seems to know who inserted this provision, and Hatch says they are working with the Senate Armed Forces Committee to “rectify the situation.”  I wouldn’t put it past Hatch to have inserted it himself.  Here’s a link to an article on this provision. http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_6211056

No Nuke Waste Facility Exansion: EnergySolutions concedes to HEAL!

Hot off the press from HEAL Utah:

Today, at the eleventh hour, EnergySolutions conceded to HEAL Utah and backed out of our legal challenge of the company’s expansion plans.

Rather than face oral arguments before the Utah Supreme Court tomorrow, EnergySolutions has instead withdrawn its request to double in size. (This means there will be no oral arguments heard tomorrow, so please do not plan on attending. While we would’ve relished the opportunity to hear our appeal argued in person, the strength of our case has spoken for itself).

In the past two years, EnergySolutions has submitted two separate requests to double the size of its nuclear waste dump. Governor Huntsman negotiated the withdrawal of the proposal to stack nuclear waste twice as high two weeks ago and today our legal action has forced the company to withdraw its proposal to expand onto new land.
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Gov. lets EnergySolutions bill become law

Announcement from HEAL Utah:

Tonight, Governor Huntsman let Senate Bill 155 become law.

While pledging to prevent “backdoors” for more and hotter nuclear waste to be dumped in Utah, Gov. Huntsman instead let EnergySolutions and the Legislature push the door wide open while locking Utahns out.

Using EnergySolutions’ language to describe the bill as a needed “technical clarification,” Gov. Huntsman vindicated the Legislature’s desire to remove itself and all elected officials in Utah from future expansions and licensing decisions at EnergySolutions’ current site–including decisions to take hotter waste.

In his statement, Gov. Huntsman did pledge to limit the volume of waste at EnergySolutions through his powers as governor. We hope this means he can still carry through with his promise to keep Utah from being the nation’s dumping ground for nuclear waste. But we’ll need to make sure.
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Guv must veto nuke waste bill

The Governor of Utah has until midnight tonight to veto the nuclear waste bill that passed both the state senate and house.

SB 155 would take the Legislature and governor out of disposal decisions by Energy Solutions on its own property.

The Governor’s office has been flooded with calls and emails urging him to veto this bill:

From HEAL Utah

Gov. Huntsman has until tonight to veto Senate Bill 155 or it becomes law. Hundreds of calls have poured in, yet the Governor has yet to make a decision.

Please take a minute to call Gov. Huntsman today at (801) 538-1000 and leave a message asking him to veto SB 155.

Then, if Gov. Huntsman does veto the bill, join us on Capitol Hill for the final day of the session: Wednesday, February 28th. We’re holding a citizen lobby day all day long from 9:00am-Midnight to urge our legislators to do their jobs and not exempt themselves from having oversight over nuclear waste expansions at EnergySolutions. More details to follow, but let us know if you can make it.

If you can’t make it on the last day, make sure to contact your senator and representative and ask them to support the Governor’s veto of SB 155. You can find your state legislators here: http://www.le.state.ut.us/maps/amap.html.
To see how they voted, follow these links:
Senate vote: http://le.utah.gov/~2007/status/sbillsta/sb0155.003s.txt;
House vote: http://le.utah.gov/~2007/status/sbillsta/sb0155.001h.txt

Gov. Huntsman has said this about SB 155: “I want to make sure there are no backdoors in terms of volumes of waste [and] in terms of hotter waste.”
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Energy Pollutions Bill Passes

Sadly, the Utah Senate has passed SB155, which will take away legislative oversight of nuclear waste coming into our state. This gives Energy Pollutions Solutions one more step towards total autonomy over this issue.

Speaking for EnergySolutions and its operations plans, Sen. Darin Peterson, R-Nephi, said, “Every time they have tried to change, they have been opposed by one group or another, and they have never lost one of those challenges. Never.”
      There should be a point where the company can go forward without as much hassle, according to Peterson. EnergySolutions is performing a service, said Peterson, sponsor of SB155. “They have proven themselves to be good partners.”

Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake, said he was not speaking to impugn the corporate reputation of Energy Solutions. “What I’m trying to do here is to think about the public policy behind what is a significantly important material to many of the people of the state of Utah,” McCoy said. Many do not want to leave decisions about the material “in the hands of a group of bureaucrats.”  “I think the Legislature should keep some skin in this game,” said McCoy. He said officials charged with oversight “absolutely have a role in the process,” and they are the experts. “What I have a problem with is absenting ourselves and the governor and the county from a role in that process.”

There is a lot of confusion, according to the article, over the language of the law and of this bill.  But one thing is clear to me:  There are a number of Utah legislators who do not care to listen to their constituents and care only about money and not people.  This bill is a prime example of that.

I Wish the Salt Lake Tribune Would Get it Straight

After all these years I still can’t believe the Utah media can’t get it right. I’m referring to this article in today’s Salt Lake Tribune:

Goshutes, PFS press their battle for a nuke dump

The article makes it look like the entire Goshute Tribe wants PFS on their reservation.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The tribe is split on the issue. You can see how far back this goes with the articles below.

So why can’t they get it right yet?

A Tribe Split by Nuclear Waste
Native Americans, Allies Resist Expansion of Utah Nuke Wasteland
Utah loses key battle over N-waste
Federal panel rejects last state objections to Skull Valley storage

Toxic Utah: Goshutes divided over N-storage
Environmentally racist nuke waste dump tears Goshutes apart

Raise a red flag on EnergySolutions

EnergyPollutions and supporters are up to no good.  This came in from HEAL Utah:

Yesterday, the Utah Senate Natural Resources Committee voted to remove the oversight of all publicly elected officials from nuclear waste expansions at EnergySolutions.  Senate Bill 155 (Waste Amendments), sponsored by Sen. Peterson (R-Nephi), prevents all future Governors, Legislatures, and Tooele County commissioners from ever stopping any expansion at EnergySolutions’ current dumpsite.

The staggering implications of the legislature removing itself and all other elected officials from decisions to bring more nuclear waste to Utah are perhaps only overshadowed by the willingness of certain legislators to rewrite state law for one company.
A massive public outcry is the only thing that can stop this.  Please join us in opposing Senate Bill 155 at a press conference next Wednesday at the Capitol:
What: “Red Flag” Press Conference
When: Wednesday, January 31st, 11:00AM-Noon.
Where: Foyer at east entrance to the West Building, Utah State Capitol.
Afterwards, stay at the Capitol to deliver your red flag to your legislator.

Why “red flag?”  Sen. Gene Davis (D-Salt Lake) said yesterday he supported SB 155 because the public can still raise “red flags” through the regulatory process, and regulators can take those concerns to the legislature.  Clearly, Sen. Davis and others would prefer to send their constituents off to state regulators rather than listen to their concerns directly. 
But if EnergySolutions can get legislators to rewrite state laws for them and citizens are told to bring their concerns elsewhere, that should raise a red flag for all of us.  Join us on Wednesday to do just that and demand that the approval process for nuclear waste dump expansions maintains oversight from elected officials accountable to the people of Utah.
Besides attending the press conference, please also:
1) Contact your state senator and urge him or her to oppose SB 155 when it comes to a full senate vote (to find your state senator’s contact info, visit http://www.le.state.ut.us/maps/amap.html)
2) Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.  For our letter to the editor page, visit http://www.healutah.org/get-involved/how-to-write-a-letter-to-the-editor.
3) Stop by our office next Monday or Tuesday at 6:00pm to help make red flags.  (Our office is located at 68 S Main St on the 4th floor).
If the Divine Strake hearings have taught us anything, it’s that regulators are often immune to public comment.  It is only through demanding accountability from our elected leaders that we have made any headway in stopping that test. 
Please join us on Wednesday to let our legislators know we expect them to hold the interests of Utahns above those of a wealthy nuclear waste dump’s. 
On a somewhat brighter note, we know we don’t have to but we want to thank all of you who attended Gov. Huntsman’s Divine Strake hearing last night.  Even if the concern, outrage, pain, and heartfelt emotion expressed in the personal stories and comments last night fall on deaf ears at the federal agencies conducting this test, the evening certainly made the will to fight stronger in the 200 of us who were in attendance.  Check out Channel 2 tonight at 10:00PM for a story on Utah’s Downwinders inspired by last night’s hearing.
Thanks for everything you do,

John Urgo
HEAL Utah, Outreach Director
68 S. Main St, Suite 400
SLC, UT 84101
(801) 355-5055

“Energy Solutions Arena”

The Delta Center has a new name: Energy Solutions Arena.
EnergySolutions Arena — Former Envirocare provides new name for Delta Center
Arena’s new name a winner, Miller says:Critics have no shortage of nicknames

This came to my desk from HEAL Utah:

EnergySolutions is no longer just an eyesore in the West Desert. As of this afternoon, the sports arena you’ve known for 15 years as the Delta Center will be known as the “EnergySolutions Arena.”

Now every time you take your kids to a Jazz game, see a concert, or simply drive through downtown Salt Lake, you can be reminded that your state is home to the largest commercial nuclear waste dump in the nation. Dan Patrick on ESPN sports radio is already calling the renamed arena “The Dump.”

In its latest attempt at rebranding, EnergySolutions has branded Utah, for the world to see, as the nation’s nuclear waste dump.

EnergySolutions can spend how it wants the untold millions it makes off dumping the nation’s unwanted waste in Utah, but this is a slap in the face to Utahns who are uneasy about their state being known as the nation’s dumping ground. And Larry Miller, who admitted he was in “nuclear kindergarten” before being educated by EnergySolutions, could certainly have sold out to a company with a better image for the state of Utah.

But don’t be uneasy, Larry Miller says, because his company and EnergySolutions share a lot of the same ideals. And EnergySolutions’ president Steve Creamer is only looking forward to the day when his company’s name is on the lips of every fourth grader in Utah. Continue reading

Slag Site Cleanup in Our Neighborhood

Tom and I have been observing with curiosity and interest an excavation project near our home. We live just west of the Midvale, Utah line in West Jordan. Just east of that line (which is actually the Jordan River), is the land formerly owned by Sharon Steele, a mining company that dumped its tailings on this land. The Midvale Slag Superfund Site, a former smelting facility which covers 446 acres in Midvale, is right next to the Sharon Steele site. The site contains slag and hazardous smelting wastes, posing a threat to human health and the environment. It was added to the Superfund National Priorities List in 1991.

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