Target: Ron Curry, Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s South Central Region
Goal: Stop the expansion of radioactive waste site
Texas’ only nuclear waste site, run by Waste Control Specialists, has been approved to accept more than three times the cubic feet of waste but pay 50 million dollars less in liability if contamination demands a cleanup. When initially approached as a site for radioactive waste, the west Texas location already laid too close to America’s biggest aquifer, the Ogallala Aquifer. At the time of site approval, the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) published new maps of the area no longer showing the aquifer beneath the predicted site space. With these untrustworthy motives at the TCEQ and an expanding waste facility already approved, Texas groundwater is in danger and hard-working taxpayers will have to pay after an accident when the liability runs dry.
Waste Control Specialists’ facility, a low-level radioactive waste site, will now accept 9 million cubic feet of radioactive waste instead of the previously 2.39 million cubic feet. Low-level waste, from nuclear plants and hospitals, include materials that have come into contact with neutron radiation. Since there is no adequate way to properly dispose of radioactive waste, the nuclear waste at this facility sits in concrete containers which are buried 30 to 100 feet below the ground. Although these items might not pose the biggest threat now, the new expansion encourages waste from all over the country as well as more dangerous waste such as uranium. Since the disastrous leak in the New Mexican waste facility in February 2014, the waste destined to that facility is now directed toward Texas.
Although geological surveys of the area were conducted, the most unsettling aspect of this entire situation is the fact that revised maps, which once showed the area lying over the Ogallala aquifer, have been changed by appointed members of the TCEQ chosen by Governor Rick Perry. Not so coincidentally, one of Rick Perry’s financial backers and the second largest donor to Republican candidates in the country, Harold Simmons, actually controls the waste site.
By signing the petition below, you are urging the Environmental Protection Agency’s South Central Region Administrator, Ron Curry, to reexamine the risks of the site to the Ogallala aquifer, reevaluate the site’s expansion, and increase the liability costs.
Dear Administrator Curry,
The newly approved expansion of Texas’ only nuclear waste facility, run by Waste Control Specialists, increases the amount of waste by more than three times the current cubic feet but decreases 50 million dollars in liability cost. With the expansion, this site in west Texas will be allowed to handle more dangerous nuclear waste from various parts of the country. If any contamination were to happen, Texas taxpayers would be forced to pay after the liability runs out.
Even more disturbing than the expansion is the revised groundwater maps which no longer show that the site sits above the Ogallala Aquifer. The members of the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, who were known to revise the maps, were appointed by Governor Rick Perry. Not so surprising, Harold Simmons controls the waste facility site, and he just so happens to be a huge contributor to Perry’s campaign. The big figures in Texas seem to be just as dirty as the nuclear waste they bury into the ground.
I strongly urge you to reevaluate the expansion of the site, increase the company’s liability policy, as well as determine the true nature of the site’s situation above the precious Ogallala aquifer. To protect the citizens of Andrews County as well as America’s largest aquifer, please take action against the expansion of this nuclear waste facility.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Nicolas Raymond via FreeStock.ca