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Centralized Storage

With the scientifically unsound proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump now canceled, the danger of "interim" storage threatens. This means that radioactive waste could be "temporarily" parked in open air lots, vulnerable to accident and attack, while a new repository site is sought.

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Thursday
Mar162017

Still time to take action against parking lot dump/Mobile Chernobyl: Comments needed

Potential highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel shipment routes from atomic reactors to WCS, TX.Thanks to everyone who has taken action, and submitted public comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in opposition to the proposed Waste Control Specialists (WCS) centralized interim storage facility in Andrews, TX. The environmentally unjust, de facto permanent, parking lot dump, would put the Ogallala Aquifer at risk, and would launch thousands of Mobile Chernobyl truck, train, and/or barge shipments through most states, past the homes of millions of people (see potential shipment route map, left, or here for an enlarged version). We have secured an extension for environmental scoping public comments, till April 28th, so please keep submitting them, and spread the word. You can fill out/submit Public Citizen & NIRS web forms, and use Beyond Nuclear and/or SEED Coalition sample comments, to prepare your own for submission.

Also, see how your two U.S. Senators voted on former Texas governor Rick Perry's confirmation for Energy Secretary, and take action, here. Please use the sample letters provided to thank your Senator if he/she voted against Perry's confirmation, or to "spank" your Senator if he/she voted for Perry's confirmation. (Sample call-in scripts are also provided.) Perry not only has a blatant conflict of interest with WCS (see articles in Counterpunch and Mother Jones), putting at risk billions of dollars of taxpayer funding, as well as public health, safety, and the environment, but he was also a member of the boards of directors of Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, the companies behind the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, until resigning his positions just before his Senate confirmation hearing. Please let your Senators know how you feel about Perry's radioactive crony capitalism and dirty oil pay-to-play politics, and urge they now address his conflicts of interest. More.

Thursday
Mar162017

Take Action Against WCS De Facto Permanent Parking Lot Dump in West Texas!

See the Public Citizen web form action alert;

See the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) web form action alert;

See Beyond Nuclear's (and SEED Coalition of TX's) action alert (sample comments you can use to write your own).

Comments had been due by March 13th, but the deadline has now been extended to April 28th. However, please comment ASAP, and more than once, if you have time, on multiple of the many facets of this issue!

Sunday
Mar122017

Action Alert: Please Thank or "Spank" Your U.S. Senators re: How They Voted on Rick Perry's Confirmation as Energy Secretary

Action Alert: Please Thank or "Spank" Your U.S. Senators re: How They Voted on Rick Perry's Confirmation as Energy Secretary

Most unfortunately, the U.S. Senate -- by a vote of 62 to 37 -- voted on March 2nd to confirm former Texas governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary. This, despite his blatant conflict of interest with the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) radioactive waste dump in West Texas. WCS could result in taxpayers paying billions of dollars, for an environmentally unjust, high-level radioactive waste dump. This would put at risk the Ogallala Aquifer, vital drinking/irrigation water for millions; and would launch thousands of high-risk Mobile Chernobyl truck, train, and barge shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel through most states. (And there are other serious concerns with Perry, such as his climate denial, and membership on the boards of directors of Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics -- the companies behind the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline -- until just before his Senate confirmation hearing.)

(How did your two U.S. Senators vote?

Democratic Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Tom Carper (Del.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.), and Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine), voted with all present Republicans to back Perry.
 
GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) was not present.

The other 36 Democrats in the U.S. Senate, as well as Independent Bernie Sanders (Vermont), voted against Perry's confirmation.)

Please thank your U.S. Senator(s) if they voted against Perry's confirmation, or "spank" (express your deep concerns to) your U.S. Senator(s) if they voted for Perry's confirmation.

Feel free to cut and paste the sample letters verbatim, or edit/add to them, as you see fit.

You can Find Your Senators at the official United States Senate website (see the upper right hand corner). Once at their websites, there you can find their online contact web forms, to send them an email, or look up their postal address to mail them a letter.

If you'd prefer to phone your Senator(s) instead of email/write them, here is a suggested sample script:

Thank you phone script

"I am calling to thank Senator _________, for voting on March 2nd in opposition to former Texas governor Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary. Perry has a blatant conflict of interest with the environmentally unjust and high-risk Waste Control Specialists (WCS) radioactive waste dump in West Texas. WCS would cost taxpayers billions, and burden them with unlimited liability if anything goes wrong. If opened, the de facto permanent parking lot dump for commercial highly radioactive waste would launch Mobile Chernobyl truck, train, and barge shipments through most states, putting millions at risk. Perry also was on the boards of directors of companies behind the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, until just before his confirmation hearing, and is a climate change denier. Now that Perry has, unfortunately, become Energy Secretary, I urge you to do all you can to address his blatant conflict of interest regarding WCS." 

"Spank" you phone script

"I am calling Senator _________, to express my deep concerns regarding [his/her] voting on March 2nd in favor of confirming former Texas governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary. Perry has a blatant conflict of interest with the environmentally unjust and high-risk Waste Control Specialists (WCS) radioactive waste dump in West Texas. WCS would cost taxpayers billions, and burden them with unlimited liability if anything goes wrong. If opened, the de facto permanent parking lot dump for commercial highly radioactive waste would launch Mobile Chernobyl truck, train, and barge shipments through most states, putting millions at risk. Perry also was on the boards of directors of companies behind the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, until just before his confirmation hearing, and is a climate change denier. Now that Perry has, unfortunately, become Energy Secretary, I urge you to do all you can to address his blatant conflict of interest regarding WCS."
You can use the scripts as is, or change them as you like. Use them for leaving a voice mail at your Senator's office, or when you reach a live staff person.

You can be patched through to your U.S. Senators' D.C. offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Or use this helpful Center for Biological Diversity directory, to look up your Senators' in-state district office phone numbers.

Thank YOU for taking action to hold your U.S. Senators accountable re: their vote for Energy Secretary Perry's confirmation!

To learn more about Perry's conflict with WCS, see articles in Counterpunch and Mother Jones. To learn more about WCS, see entries posted at Beyond Nuclear's Centralized Interim Storage website section.

Sunday
Mar122017

Sample thank you letter to U.S. Senator(s) who voted against Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary

March ______, 2017

Dear Senator _________________________,

I am writing to thank you regarding your vote, on March 2nd, against the confirmation of former Texas governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.

Perry has a blatant conflict of interest regarding the Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) radioactive waste dump in West Texas. WCS’s owner, Harold Simmons, infamously nicknamed the “King of Superfund Sites,” was a major Perry campaign contributor, to the tune of $1.25 million. (Although Simmons died in late 2013, his family still owns WCS.) Perry and his appointees, in return, provided WCS every expansion permit it requested. Perry even travelled to West Texas, promoting WCS’s biggest expansion yet – to become a centralized interim storage site for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel.

Perry did all this, despite very serious environmental justice concerns at the WCS site. The surrounding communities in West Texas, and immediately adjacent Southeast New Mexico, include a large percentage of Latin American residents, and a significant proportion of low-income residents. These communities are already heavily burdened with pollution from fossil fuel (oil extraction and fracked natural gas), nuclear (uranium enrichment), and other hazardous industries.

WCS also puts at risk the Ogallala Aquifer. Stretching from Texas to South Dakota, it is North America’s largest, providing vital drinking and irrigation water to millions, across eight states on the High Plains.

Now, as Energy Secretary, Perry would sign the contract obligating federal taxpayers to pay WCS billions of dollars to construct and operate a de facto permanent parking lot dump for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel and highly radioactive waste.

The WCS “centralized interim storage facility” would also immediately transfer unlimited liability for the wastes, from the companies that generated it (and hugely profited thereby), onto the backs of federal taxpayers, without any linkage to an operating permanent geologic repository. This linkage has been a wise requirement under federal law (the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as Amended) for decades. The linkage has been a safeguard against a supposedly temporary storage site being abandoned in place, as de facto permanent disposal, albeit one most dangerously located at the surface, at a site never determined to be suitable for such a high-risk gamble.

The WCS scheme would also inevitably launch high-risk “Mobile Chernobyl” truck and/or train shipments through most states nationwide, and could even launch “Floating Fukushima” barge shipments on surface waters (lakes, rivers, and seacoasts).

I thank you again for your vote opposing Perry’s confirmation as Energy Secretary. Given the many serious concerns listed above, I urge you to seek ways to address Energy Secretary Perry’s blatant conflict of interest re: WCS, and the risks it creates for taxpayer pocketbooks, as well as the health, safety, and environment of millions of Americans.

Sincerely,

Your name

Your address

Your street

Your city, state     Your zip code

Your phone #

Sunday
Mar122017

Sample "spank you" letter of concern to U.S. Senator(s) who voted in favor of Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary

March ______, 2017

Dear Senator _________________________,

I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding your vote, on March 2nd, in favor of the confirmation of former Texas governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary. Perry has a blatant conflict of interest regarding the Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) radioactive waste dump in West Texas. WCS’s owner, Harold Simmons, infamously nicknamed the “King of Superfund Sites,” was a major Perry campaign contributor, to the tune of $1.25 million. (Although Simmons died in late 2013, his family still owns WCS.) Perry and his appointees, in return, provided WCS every expansion permit it requested. Perry even travelled to West Texas, promoting WCS’s biggest expansion yet – to become a centralized interim storage site for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel.

Perry did all this, despite very serious environmental justice concerns at the WCS site. The surrounding communities in West Texas, and immediately adjacent Southeast New Mexico, include a large percentage of Latin American residents, and a significant proportion of low-income residents. These communities are already heavily burdened with pollution from fossil fuel (oil extraction and fracked natural gas), nuclear (uranium enrichment), and other hazardous industries.

WCS also puts at risk the Ogallala Aquifer. Stretching from Texas to South Dakota, it is North America’s largest, providing vital drinking and irrigation water to millions, across eight states on the High Plains.

Now, as Energy Secretary, Perry would sign the contract obligating federal taxpayers to pay WCS billions of dollars to construct and operate a de facto permanent parking lot dump for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel and highly radioactive waste.

The WCS “centralized interim storage facility” would also immediately transfer unlimited liability for the wastes, from the companies that generated it (and hugely profited thereby), onto the backs of federal taxpayers, without any linkage to an operating permanent geologic repository. This linkage has been a wise requirement under federal law (the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as Amended) for decades. The linkage has been a safeguard against a supposedly temporary storage site being abandoned in place, as de facto permanent disposal, albeit one most dangerously located at the surface, at a site never determined to be suitable for such a high-risk gamble.

The WCS scheme would also inevitably launch high-risk “Mobile Chernobyl” truck and/or train shipments through most states nationwide, and could even launch “Floating Fukushima” barge shipments on surface waters (lakes, rivers, and seacoasts).

For these reasons, I re-emphasize my deep concern with your vote to confirm Perry as Energy Secretary. I urge you to seek ways to address now-Energy Secretary Perry’s blatant conflict of interest re: WCS, and the risks it creates for taxpayer pocketbooks, as well as the health, safety, and environment of millions of Americans.

Sincerely,

Your name

Your address

Your street

Your city, state     Your zip code

Your phone #