Posts Tagged ‘compact commission’

We’ve recently realized that TCEQ allowed stock from Waste Control Specialists (WCS) sister company, Titanium Metals Corp to be put up as the financial assurance for their radioactive waste dump and that stock isn’t performing well right now. So we want to know, where does that leave the state of Texas and its citizens?

We hope to have this addressed at the upcoming Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Compact Commission) meetings that are coming up this week.

  • Thursday, June 28th 5:30 PM – Joint subcommittee meeting at the Capitol – E1.028 Technical and Legal Committees
    (The process for addressing applications is yet to be determined, although the applications could be voted on the next day)
  • Friday, June 29th – 9 AM Full Compact Commission Meeting – at the Capitol – E1.028
    The Friday meeting should be televised live (but won’t be archived) and will be available for viewing at “Texas legislature online

Do come to these hearings if you are able.

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In the opening salvo of a long-anticipated legal battle over a rule that would leave Texas open to radioactive waste from all over the country traveling along our highways to a West Texas dumpsite, Public Citizen’s Texas office filed a petition in Travis County District Court  on Thursday. 

The petition alleges many significant flaws in the process by which these rules were adopted and seeks to depose officials to find  out whether these were a series of inept mistakes, or part of an effort to suppress  citizens’ rights to comment on expanded importation of dangerous radioactive waste.

Public Citizen’s petition does not state any specific wrongdoing. Instead, it requests depositions be scheduled to  investigate “potential claims concerning the Commission’s recent, flawed rule-making.”

During the 2010 holiday season Public Citizen and SEED tangled with aspiring radioactive waste dump company Waste Control Specialists (WCS)and the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission (Compact Commission) over a radioactive waste rulemaking that Public Citizen claims was fraught with irregularities.

The petition alleges that:

  • The commission published the wrong email address for comments
  • The over 6,000 comments received weren’t properly reviewed, evaluated and responded to,
  • The comments were undercounted,   
  • The commission failed to legally find that there is enough excess capacity  to allow importation from other states
  • The commission has failed to analyze the risk of a transportation accident or the risk of a terrorist capturing  some of these waste

The Compact Commission began a public comment period the day after Thanksgiving and ended it the day after Christmas, putting the public at a serious disadvantage.  They then claimed to have adequately responded to the over six thousand comments that poured in toward the end of the 30 day comment period in only a matter of days without any technical or legal staff to analyze those comments. 

Based on existing evidence it seems most likely that [Compact Commission] Chairman Michael Ford attempted to read and respond to over six thousand public comments and the numerous technically complex filings from consumer organizations, law firms, and elected officials between Christmas and New Years while sitting around his mother-in-law’s kitchen table.  That would meaning reading three comments a minute – a herculean and, frankly, impossible task.  This is hardly the kind of reasoned analysis envisioned inTexaslaw.

Despite the fact that over six thousand Texans took time out over the holidays to write letters opposing the idea of importing radioactive waste from all over the country to Texas, the Compact Commission voted 6-2 in favor of the plan.  The vote took place on January 4th, just two days before the inauguration of Vermont’s governor elect, who had publicly stated during his campaign that he intended to appoint two new Vermont members to the Commission.  The Compact Commission is composed of six members fromTexas and two members fromVermont.

The petition also alleges that the Compact Commission’s importation rule would result in a substantial increase the number of trucks carrying radioactive waste along Texas highways, into the thousands according to WCS’s own transportation study submitted when they applied for their license.  This dangerous waste would be vulnerable to accidents and roll-overs as well as terrorist attacks.

During a December 2010 legal challenge to the proceeding, federal judge Sam Sparks expressed concern over the way public comments were handled.  If granted, the petition would provide a low-cost means to determine whether there were violations of state and federal laws by the Compact Commission.  Further action by the state of Texasor Vermont and Public Citizen could hinge on what is revealed in the depositions of key decision-makers involved in the rule-making process, including Michael Ford, the Compact Commission’s chairman, and the Commission’s former executive director who left her post before the vote.

If the commission is inept, that should heighten everyone’s concern about whether they are competent to  regulate radioactive  waste. If they are actively trying to downplay the extent of opposition to importation, it raises serious questions about their commitment to following Texas open meeting and open records laws.

A hearing on the petition has been scheduled for May 9th at 2:30 PM.

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This month, the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission will hear feedback on a proposed rule allowing the importation of so-called low-level radioactive waste into Texas from across the nation. Under the proposed rules Waste Control Specialists (WCS) would be allowed to import additional radioactive waste from other areas of the country and potentially the world into Andrews County, Texas.

Click here to take action! Tell the Compact Commission you do not want Texas to become the nation’s radioactive waste dumping ground!

An environmental analysis performed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) found potential problems with the site, including possible pathways to underground aquifers. Three TCEQ staff members have resigned or taken early retirement as a result of the decision to grant the license. While TCEQ did approve the license, the Sierra Club has appealed that decision to the State District Court.

Take Action Now!

Even though the license granted by the TCEQ has been appealed, and the site has yet to be constructed, the eight-member Compact Commission is rushing ahead with this proposed rule at the behest of WCS and nuclear power plants, who are both desperate to find a place to send their waste. The Compact Commission does not even have a staff to review proposed importation agreements. A coalition of groups is opposing the rush to approve this rule. The groups are urging the Commission to deny the ability to import any waste other than Texas-Vermont compact waste or to put much stricter rules in place on how waste might be imported on a case-by-case basis. The present license only has enough capacity for waste from Texas and the other compact state Vermont.

Join us now to send a message to the Compact Commission!

In addition to e-mailed comments, the public may also make comments at two public hearings in Austin, TX on April 5 and Andrews, TX on April 6.

Austin Hearing – April 5, 2010, 1:00 PM at the Texas State Capitol Extension Auditorium, E1.004

Andrews Hearing – April 6, 2010, 6:00 PM at Andrews High School Little Theater, 1401 NW Avenue K.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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SEED Coalition opposes any radioactive waste dumping in Texas, but at minimum seeks to prevent our state from receiving waste from more than just the two Compact States and becoming the nation’s radioactive waste dump. With support from Public Citizen, Environment Texas and Nuclear Information and Resource Service and other groups, they will submit comments today to the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission. The Proposed Import/Export Rule under consideration may open the door for Texas to becoming the nation’s nuclear dumping ground and we’re making recommendations to strengthen the rule and protect public health as safety .

State Rep. Lon Burnam (District 90, Ft. Worth) will ask a series of questions of the Compact Commissioners, and try to get answers as to why they are considering the weak and risky approach taken by the draft rule under consideration.

Some of SEED Coalition’s comments can be summarized as follows:

  • The site should be limited to radioactive waste from Texas and Vermont, and have volume and radioactivity caps that match the license for the facility.
  • Waste from Texas and Vermont would more than fill up the facility, and no Out of Compact Waste should be imported.
  • The proposed import/ export rule needs to be strengthened and deemed a Major Environmental rule, so that more careful analysis can be done.
  • Radionuclides must be carefully tracked and monitored. The public has a right to know what is shipped to the site and the level of radioactivity in curies.
  • The public should be informed as to health risks from various radionuclides and meetings held in accord with the Open Meetings Act

The Compact Commission meets today beginning at 9 AM in Austin, Texas in the State Capitol Auditorium, E1.004, 1400 North Congress.

Visit www.NukeFreeTexas.org to find SEED’s comments, Rep. Burnam’s questions, a NIRS factsheet and the memo by nuclear expert Dr. Arjun Makhijani.  Press release after the jump… (more…)

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Join us next Thursday, December 10th to help stop Texas from becoming the nation’s radioactive waste dump!

Please Come:

Texas Compact Commission Stakeholder Meeting
Thursday, December 10th at 9am
Texas Capitol, Extension Auditorium, E1.004

You are invited to attend the press conference as well, held by the SEED Coalition, Public Citizen, and Sierra Club, on stopping Texas from becoming the nation’s radioactive waste dump, the inadequacies of the west Texas dump site and the corruption surrounding the permitting process.

Thursday, Dec. 10th at 12:30 pm – Texas Capitol, Speaker’s Committee Room, 2W.6.

* Show your presence and that the public interest matters.

* Tell the Compact Commission not to allow import of radioactive waste into Texas from the rest of the country!

All of the State TCEQ scientists who worked on the permit for the West Texas dump site, owned by Waste Control Specialists (WCS), determined the site to be inadequate because of the possible radioactive contamination of our aquifers and groundwater. Corruption and politics led to the permitting of the site anyways, ignoring the entire TCEQ technical team’s recommendation against issuing the permit. 3 TCEQ employees quit over the decision.

Now the Compact Commission is putting rules in place, to let nuclear power waste from across the country into Texas, making this site the nation’s radioactive waste dumping ground. The Texas Compact Commission, appointed by Governor Perry, and responsible for managing so-called “low-level” radioactive waste generated within its boundaries, is developing rules for importation of radioactive waste from outside the compact (TX and Vermont), AGAINST the original intent of the law, which was for only the 3 states of the compact to be able to dump there.

The Commission is taking comments from stakeholders on the development of the import rule. We want to let them know that the generators of nuclear waste and the dump company that is profiting from taking the waste are not the only stakeholders in this process. Please come help make the voices of the public, Texas taxpayers, and water drinkers heard LOUD and CLEAR.

Learn more at:


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, cleaner cars, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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