Texas House passes Bad Radioactive Waste Bill

Guest Submission by Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition

NOTE: SB 1504 is up for third reading on the House floor later today. 

On May 17, 2011 the Texas House voted 108 Ayes to 36 Nays to pass SB 1504, which will allow WCS’ Andrews County radioactive waste dump to accept wastes from around the country. We’d been able to make some improvements in the bill on the front end and there are some limits on Out of Compact waste, an amazing accomplishment in light of our current legislature. There was also good debate on the floor, which will help in having oversight and scrutiny of the radioactive waste dump in the future. Still, this bill is bad news… It has already passed in the Senate.

In an act of utter disgrace to Texas, 108 House members voted in favor of allowing radioactive waste from around the country to be dumped in Texas. They should have instead limited the site to Texas and Vermont waste. The SB 1504 vote shows many Representativesʼ disregard for health and safety and their willingness to pander to a Dallas billionaire and his waste empire.

It is disgusting to see supposedly educated legislators vote down basic amendments that would allow a study of transportation risks and whether emergency responders are trained and equipped to deal with an accident involving radioactive waste. Some legislators, including Reps. Lon Burnam, Jose Menendez, Roberto Alonzo and Pete Gallego deserve huge credit for trying to improve the bill, but overall, money ruled the day instead of common sense and decency.

Bill info can be found by searching the bill number at www.capitol.state.tx.us

The Vote

As shown by Texas Legislature Online: Legislative Session: 82(R) Unofficial Bill: SB 1504

Disclaimer: This vote has not been certified by the House Journal Clerk. It is provided for informational purposes only. Once the vote is certified, it will be recorded in the journal according to Rule 5 of the House Rules and made available on this web site.

RV# 1140 — Unofficial Totals: 108 Yeas, 36 Nays, 2 Present, not voting

Yeas – Aliseda; Alvarado; Anderson, R.; Aycock; Beck; Berman; Bohac; Bonnen; Branch; Brown; Burkett; Button; Callegari; Chisum; Christian; Coleman; Cook; Craddick; Creighton; Crownover; Darby; Davis, J.; Davis, S.; Deshotel; Driver; Eiland; Eissler; Elkins; Fletcher; Flynn; Frullo; Garza; Geren; Gonzales, L.; Gooden; Guillen; Hamilton; Hancock; Hardcastle; Harless; Harper-Brown; Hartnett; Hilderbran; Hochberg; Hopson; Howard, C.; Huberty; Hughes; Jackson; Johnson; Keffer; King, P.; King, S.; King, T.; Kleinschmidt; Kuempel; Landtroop; Larson; Laubenberg; Lavender; Legler; Lewis; Lozano; Lyne; Madden; Mallory Caraway; Margo; Martinez; Miller, D.; Miller, S.; Morrison; Muñoz; Murphy; Nash; Oliveira; Orr; Otto; Parker; Patrick; Paxton; Peña; Perry; Phillips; Pickett; Pitts; Price; Quintanilla; Riddle; Ritter; Schwertner; Scott; Sheets; Sheffield; Shelton; Smith, T.; Smith, W.; Smithee; Solomons; Taylor, L.; Taylor, V.; Truitt; Veasey; Weber; White; Woolley;  Workman; Zedler; Zerwas

Nays – Allen; Alonzo; Anchia; Burnam; Cain; Carter; Castro; Davis, Y.; Dukes; Dutton; Farias; Gallego; Giddings; Gonzales, V.; Gutierrez; Hernandez Luna; Howard, D.; Isaac; Kolkhorst; Lucio; Marquez; Martinez Fischer; McClendon; Menendez; Miles; Naishtat; Raymond; Reynolds; Rodriguez; Simpson; Strama; Thompson; Turner; Villarreal; Vo; Walle

Present, not voting – Gonzalez; Mr. Speaker(C)

UPDATE:

According to a story by KHOU-Channel 11 out of Houston, radiation has contaminated the underground pipes, water tanks, and plumbing that provide drinking water for much of Central Texas and the Hill Country, much to the consternation of  concerned city officials in the region, who have tested the pipes with Geiger counters.

The City of Brady city made the discovery when it recently dug up older steel water pipes from the ground in an attempt to replace them.  When the city brought the older pipes to a local recycling scrap yard, the scrap yard turned them away as “too radioactive” to recycle.   Could this be even more radioactive waste that will be traveling through Texas to the WCS dump in Andrews County?  Check out the KHOU story at Texas drinking water makes pipes and plumbing radioactive.

Check out these news stories on the bill.

Texas House OKs taking in more radioactive waste

Texas House OKs plan for radioactive waste dump owned by Dallas billionaire Simmons