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No vote on high level nuclear waste storage in New Mexico, despite Memorial opposing the dump

New Mexico lawmakers unopposed to high-level nuclear waste storage as House kills memorial. Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus Feb. 24, 2020   A measure that would have called on the New Mexico Legislature to formally oppose the transportation and storage of high-level nuclear waste, as a project was ongoing to do so the southeast corner of the state, died while in committee as the 2020 session closed without a vote.

House Memorial 21 did pass the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a 8-5 vote during a Feb. 1 hearing, but was never brought to a vote on the House floor and thus did not proceed to be signed into law.

HM 21, sponsored by Matthew McQueen (D-50) cited an “unacceptable risk” created by the storage of high-level waste from the eastern United States, which the memorial cited as holding “90 percent” of nuclear reactors.

The memorial also said the risk would be spread to “40 other state” through the transportation of spent nuclear fuel by rail.

The facility that the memorial blamed for creating such as risk was proposed by Holtec International, which applied for a license to build a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel rods in a remote location between Carlsbad and Hobbs.

The facility would hold nuclear waste temporarily as a permanent repository was developed.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard both voiced opposition to the project last year, with the Lujan Grisham calling it “economic malpractice” as it could disrupt nearby oil and gas agriculture industries.

“The creation of a high-level radioactive waste storage facility in New Mexico jeopardizes the state’s existing industrial, agricultural and ranching businesses, runs counter to the promotion of tourism and the diversification of New Mexico’s economy and threatens the health and safety of New Mexico residents,” read the memorial….

McQueen worried the facility, although it was proposed as a temporary or “interim” facility could become permanent as a permanent repository was unlikely to be opened during the 40-year term of Holtec’s license application.

“I also believe this is a temporary benefit for really long-term or permanent liability for Mew Mexico. The facility threatens our existing economic activity, not only in the area but statewide,” he said during the Committee hearing.

“It’s amazing how something that temporary pretty much becomes permanent. I believe New Mexico should not be the nation’s nuclear waste dumping ground.”

A New Mexico Senate bill aimed at expanding the State’s oversight to include privately-owned storage for high-level waste also died after it was voted down last week on the Senate floor…… .  https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/local/2020/02/24/new-mexico-lawmakers-unopposed-high-level-nuclear-waste-storage/4856468002/

February 25, 2020 - Posted by | politics, USA, wastes

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