Mescaleros now vote yes

  Reversing themselves, members of New Mexico's Mescalero Apache Tribe voted "yes' for storage of high-level nuclear waste on the reservation. The March 9 vote was 593-372 for accepting highly radioactive waste, compared to a 490-362 vote in late January against it (HCN, 2/20/95). The project would store up to 40,000 tons of lead-encased spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants around the country. Tribal leaders worked hard for their win, writing almost daily letters to residents, going door to door and accusing activists against the project of being dupes of Anglo environmental groups. Mescalero critic Rufina Laws countered that the tribe "contaminated" the referendum by promising supporters money - a charge strongly denied by tribal leaders. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission still must license the project, which probably won't open until the turn of the century at the earliest.

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