Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Texas Low Level Waste Facility Close to Opening, No Word Heard in Northern NM

An anchor of the Southeast New Mexico / West Texas energyplex moved closer to being completely in business after a March 23 decision from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The disposal site for low level nuclear waste being built by Waste Control Specialists LLC is expected to receive final approval from the Commission within a few weeks, according to the March 24-25 Wall Street Journal story.
Those of us in northern New Mexico didn’t hear about the decision—too much process, too far away, who knows. The Albuquerque Journal archives most recent story about the Waste Control Specialists appeared January 3, 2011.
The 1,338-acre facility, called The Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Facility (www.wcstexas.com), is just inside Texas and 31 miles from Andrews, Texas, which is 37 miles from Eunice. It has about 175 employees. The waste can come from 36 states including Texas.
My closer reading of the Wall Street Journal story to prepare this post uncovered two surprises. WSJ didn’t say exactly what the ruling ruled, only that the agency “adopted rules Friday that help clear the way.” Nor did WSJ say exactly which agency ruled, though from the context one can infer it was the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Opponents such as the Sierra Club voiced the usual complaints of potential groundwater contamination and transportation hazards.
WSJ used the usual words and called the facility a “dump,” as if the waste is dumped by the side of the road.
According to www.texassolutionblog.com, a site affiliated with Waste Control Specialists, “The Texas Compact Disposal Facility is owned by the state of Texas, operated by Waste Control Specialists and hosted and supported by Andrews County, Texas.”

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