State fights nuclear waste shipments

  In a measure environmental groups say will put 50 million Americans at risk of radiation exposure, Congress recently authorized storage of 50,000 tons of nuclear waste at the Nevada Test Site.


Opponent Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., dubbed the bill "Mobile Chernobyl," because it funds the transportation of spent nuclear fuel rods from power plants in 43 states to a temporary storage facility at the site, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The Department of Energy's environmental impact statement predicts 295,000 truck trips to the Nevada Test Site, and as many as 69 fatalities, 23 from radiation exposure, from all shipments nationally.


Opponents of the bill raise two concerns: that the Nevada Test Site is not safe for storage, and that the risk of accidents from thousands of truckloads of nuclear waste plying the nation's highways is too high. "This could be one of the country's worst environmental disasters," said Karen Kirchgasser, spokeswoman for Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev. "It pre-empts every environmental law on the books."


The House passed the bill, 307-120, on Oct. 30, with more than enough votes to override a veto, which President Clinton has threatened. But the bill passed the Senate two votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to defeat a veto. Now, the House and Senate are working on a new version of the bill that would attract enough votes to override a veto. They hope to have it on Clinton's desk by March.


Meanwhile, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories discovered plutonium-contaminated groundwater within a mile of the Nevada Test Site. Nevada's tiny congressional delegation seized on the information in their ongoing attempt to prevent more nuclear waste coming to Nevada. Annie Kersting, a Livermore isotope chemist, said they've traced the plutonium to a 1968 test blast.


For information, contact Sen. Bryan's office, at 202/224-6244. You may also call the White House Comment Line at 202/456-1111. To get a copy of the Department of Energy's Environmental Impact Statement, Final Waste Management Programatic EIS, call 800/736-3282, and ask for publication DOE/EIS-0200-F.


* Jason Lenderman
High Country News Classifieds
  • WATERSHED RESTORATION DIRECTOR
    $58k-$70k + benefits to oversee watershed restoration projects that fulfill our strategic goals across urban and rural areas within the bi-national Santa Cruz and San...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    We are a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration....
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Come work alongside everyday Montanans to project our clean air, water, and build thriving communities! Competitive salary, health insurance, pension, generous vacation time and sabbatical....
  • CAMPAIGN MANAGER
    Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting, defending and restoring Oregon's high desert, seeks a Campaign Manager to works as...
  • HECHO DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, COLUMBIA CASCADES
    The Regional Representative serves as PCTA's primary staff on the ground along the trail working closely with staff, volunteers, and nonprofit and agency partners. This...
  • FINANCE AND OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) seeks a full-time Finance and Operations Director to manage the internal functions of MLR and its nonprofit affiliates. Key areas...
  • DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION
    The Nature Conservancy is recruiting for a Director of Conservation. Provides strategic leadership and support for all of the Conservancy's conservation work in Arizona. The...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • BIG BASIN SENIOR PROJECT PLANNER - CLIMATE ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE
    Parks California Big Basin Senior Project Planner - Climate Adaptation & Resilience ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our...
  • SCIENCE PROJECT MANAGER
    About Long Live the Kings (LLTK) Our mission is to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1986,...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES GENERALIST
    Honor the Earth is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on identity. Indigenous people, people of color, Two-Spirit or LGBTQA+ people,...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Colorado Trout Unlimited seeks an individual with successful development experience, strong interpersonal skills, and a deep commitment to coldwater conservation to serve as the organization's...
  • NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST, BRUCE SMITH
    In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven.This middle-grade novel,...
  • MOUNTAIN LOTS FOR SALE
    Multiple lots in gated community only 5 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park. Seasonal flowing streams. Year round road maintenance.
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, HIke the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • CAUCASIAN OVCHARKA PUPPIES
    Strong loyal companions. Ready to protect your family and property. Proven against wolves and grizzlies. Imported bloodlines. Well socialized.