Tuesday, December 10, 2013

WIPP extension plan stricken from Congressional defense bill, Pearce blames Udall

A Congressional proposal that would have allowed Carlsbad's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to accept nuclear waste from additional sources is dead, for now. Rep. Steve Pearce's amendment to change the definition of the type of waste WIPP could receive to "any non-defense Federal Government-owned transuranic waste" was dropped by the U.S. Senate on Monday evening, and likely won't be present in the final version of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. Pearce (R-Hobbs) on Tuesday questioned Sen. Tom Udall's willingness to support the nuclear waste repository 27 miles east of Carlsbad. "My main question right now is why did Sen. Udall's office deny he was opposed to the WIPP language when today it has been published he told environmental activists in Santa Fe that he was opposed all along," Pearce said in a statement. "His action will now hurt jobs in Carlsbad and prevent cleanup of waste at Los Alamos. The Senator should explain himself to the citizens of New Mexico." Sen. Udall (D-N.M.) said Pearce's allegation was "flat out false." "Sen. Udall never told environmental activists that he was opposed to Rep. Pearce's amendment," said Jennifer Talhelm, communications director for Udall. "Sen. Udall believes Rep. Pearce's amendment was poorly drafted and would hurt New Mexico and New Mexico jobs. Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway was in Washington D.C. this week to support the WIPP amendment, as well as attend a conference on the oil and gas industry. He said he was disappointed by the latest development. "We are very disappointed the Senate did not recognize the importance of the language, not only for New Mexico but for the country as a whole," Janway said...more

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