Public Citizen, SEED Coalition and We Texans, rally against WCS Radioactive Waste Dump

San Antonio Press Conference on Radioactive Waste facility in West Texas. From left to right: Debra Medina, We Texans; Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition; Trevor Lovell, Public Citizen; and Peggy Day, Sierra Club member

Public Citizen, Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition and We Texans are traveling around the state to get the word out to folks in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas against proposed bills that would allow states to ship nuclear waste to a West Texas low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.

The facility in Andrews County is still under construction and was originally designed to house radioactive and nuclear waste from Texas and Vermont.The bills working their way through the Texas Legislature would broaden the scope to allow them to accept waste from anywhere within the United States.  (Bill numbers HB 2184 and SB 1504)Debra Medina, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate who is currently the director of We Texans is joining the environmentalists in protesting Waste Control Specialists plan to import low-level radioactive waste from 36 states to their site in Texas.

SEED Coalition and Public Citizen believe the danger is the estimated annual 4,600 truckloads of hazardous waste on state roads. Medina is angered over what she’s calling “crony capitalism,” where political donors get political favors.

In this case, she claims, Waste Control Specialists is getting a profitable license but only having to set aside $500,000 to pay for any possible accidents or spills. Medina said that small amount leaves the liability on the backs of Texas taxpayers.

“It’s not free market anymore when you tell a company they’re not liable for the harm their product or service may cause,” she said.

“It’s a very limited revenue stream for Texas. It’s a huge revenue stream for the private contractor and a great liability for Texas taxpayers.”

One of the things Public Citizen is calling for is a state study ratifying whether there is actual additional capacity at the site before opening it up for importation outside of the original compact states.

Concerns were also raised over the increase in nuclear waste traveling on Texas roads. While traffic accidents involving waste are rare, they said more studies need to be done to avoid endangering Texans.

Suddenly, all that waste is going to get packed up and shipped out from power plant facilities, hitting the highways around the nation and it’s all going to end up coming through Texas.  We’re going to see a concentration of shipments, and we’re going to see a commiserate concentration of accidents that we’re going to be liable for.  Seems like a good deal for WCS but a pretty bad deal for Texans if there is a big accident.