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Vice President Gore Snubs Environmental Groups

Sept. 28, 1999

Vice President Gore Snubs Environmental Groups

Gore Won?t Meet With 187 Groups About Radioactive Recycling

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice President Al Gore has refused to meet with representatives of 187 public interest organizations that are concerned about his support for recycling radioactive waste into commercial products ranging from zippers to baby carriages. As part of his reinventing government program, Gore has supported the U.S. Department of Energy?s (DOE) contract with British Nuclear Fuels Limited, Inc. (BNFL) to recycle 200 million pounds of radioactive nickel, copper, aluminum and steel.

“I am shocked and deeply disturbed that our vice president is refusing to meet with the leading environmental and public interest organizations on an issue that has significant health and safety implications for American families,” said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen?s Critical Mass Energy Project. “Is he too busy raising money from his corporate cronies to talk about the crucial policy issues that will affect our children?s health?”

Gore has been quoted as saying that the radioactive recycling project is “good news for Tennesseans.” However, the Tennessee project ? which calls for nuclear waste from the massive, closed uranium enrichment buildings in Oak Ridge, Tenn., to be sold to scrap dealers for use in consumer goods – has been criticized by local unions and environmentalists.

“The recycling project in Tennessee is a blatant and outrageous public health threat,” said Diane D?Arrigo of Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “Radioactive waste should be isolated, not sold into the marketplace. Vice President Gore should give this issue his attention immediately.”

In addition to asking for a meeting, the Aug. 11, 1999, letter calls for a halt to the Gore-supported DOE contract and asks the agency to provide information about companies and scrap metal dealers that have received or will receive radioactively contaminated metals.