As fires rage throughout Texas, we should remember that besides brush, farm land and homes, wildfires are a danger to many industrial sites. According to today’s Texas Forest Service incident management situation report, a wildfire designated the Frying Pan Ranch fire in Andrews Co. has been contained, but not before scorching 80,907 acres.
While a remote and sparsely populated area, this corner of Texas is home to the controversial Waste Control Specialists’ (WCS) low-level radioactive waste disposal site. Currently, two bills are moving through the Texas legislature (HB 2184 and SB 1504) which could open this site up to waste from the rest of the U.S. without significantly reducing the liability to Texans should there be a transportation accident or should there be a leak at the site. I haven’t even seen anything about what issues are at stake in the event of an incident of wildfire.
Environmentalists have been calling on the legislature to improve HB 2184 and SB 1504 by slowing things down until:
- We have a capacity study completed
- We have analyzed the risk of a major leak
- We have analyzed the fiscal liability to the State of Texas for a major leak
- We have examined the transportation routes and the readiness of first responders and our ability to handle the costs of a transportation accident