For the past century, Utah has been in the cross-hairs of the nuclear industry as the uranium mined and milled from our soils has returned to us as radioactive fallout and nuclear waste. And while Utah has never fully recovered from the unique and painful legacy of our nuclear past, the industry is back at our doorsteps making the same promises of cheap, clean energy it did 50 years ago. HEAL Utah is working to end the pattern of abuse from the nuclear industry’s mining, milling, waste disposal, and weapons testing practices.
To learn more about HEAL’s various Nuclear Utah campaign areas click the links below:
Nuclear Utah Updates…
PRESS RELEASE *** PRESS RELEASE *** PRESS RELEASE
WESTINGHOUSE BANKRUPTCY DEALS TROUBLED GREEN RIVER NUKE BID HUGE BLOW
PROJECT FOE CALLS ON BLUE CASTLE TO ABANDON PROJECT
In response to today’s news that Westinghouse -- the company with which struggling Blue Castle Holdings claimed it was partnering to build the Green River nuclear reactors -- has filed for bankruptcy, HEAL Utah called upon Blue Castle to abandon their troubled bid.
“The list of Blue Castle’s failures was already long,” says HEAL Utah’s Policy Director Ashley Soltysiak. “The project has failed to raise money from investors or attract interest from utilities. They’ve been unable to pay their bills for the water they leased to cool the project. And, now, they’ve lost the company that was allegedly going to design and build their reactors. It’s time to shut it down.”
Soltysiak pointed out that reports about Westinghouse’s bankruptcy indicate the company may not be able to complete projects in Georgia and South Carolina which it is in the middle of building -- let alone to continue to work on those which are years from federal approval and construction, like Blue Castle. As recently as January, Blue Castle’s CEO, former state Rep. Aaron Tilton, said in a media briefing that they were continuing to work with Westinghouse.
“Take a step back for a moment,” said Soltysiak. “A decade after announcing your plan to start a new business, you still haven’t found anyone to finance it or anyone to buy what you’re selling. Now the company that was going to design and build it has gone out of business.”
One major reason Tilton and Blue Castle should terminate their project, HEAL says, is so that rural Utah communities who have been linked to the bid for a decade can move forward to develop their economies and make plans for their water. Blue Castle has leased water from the San Juan and Kane county water conservancy districts and has received support from Emery County Economic Development officials.
“Rural Utah faces serious challenges,” said Soltysiak. “For 10 years now, Tilton has strung these counties along and promised them jobs and revenue that are obviously never coming. It’s past time for Blue Castle to do the decent thing and admit the obvious: The Green River nuclear reactors will never be built.”
For more information, call HEAL's Policy Director Ashley Soltysiak at (616)-485-8290.
Background on Blue Castle and their struggles:
Nov. Trib story on BCH failing to make water payments: http://www.sltrib.com/home/
2014 HEAL op-ed detailing BCH’s May struggles: http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/
2013 Trib story about BCH’s troubled finances: http://archive.sltrib.com/
As 2016 winds down, it's time for one last message.
We have sent all kinds of emails your way this year. Many of them have been celebratory! It was largely a positive year for HEAL's campaigns. We managed to convince the EPA to crack down on pollution from Utah's coal power plants. A federal judge allowed our case aimed at forcing Rocky Mountain Power to clean up its coal ash mess at its Huntington plant to move forward.
We've also had several significant clean air victories, from convincing the legislature to require cleaner water heaters to expanding diesel emissions testing across the Wasatch Front.
So there was a lot to celebrate about 2016. We hope you celebrated with us, because we did not achieve a single hard earned victory alone! With support from our allies -- nonprofits, policy makers, businesses, foundations, donors and citizen activist LIKE YOU -- we have pushed forward in the face of adversity.
Now, there is of course a dark cloud!
That dark cloud comes in the form of the Trump Administration, soon taking power in Washington DC. The President-elect has pledged to roll back progress on health and environmental programs which have been key for Utah communities. That includes proposals such as ending the first significant American bid to limit carbon emissions, the Clean Power Plan, and weakening various initiatives that have helped Utah clean up our air.
Those programs are all via the EPA, an agency which Trump pledged during his campaign to cut so much that only “little tidbits” would remain.
2017 is going to be a tumultuous year. In addition to what may come from Washington, we have huge decisions looming here in Utah. Below, I’ll tell you about three of them – and how HEAL plans to push for protecting our health and the environment in the year to come.
First, I want to ask you to consider making a tax-deductible gift to HEAL Utah before the year ends. Contributions we receive during the final few days of the year will go a long way to cementing our ambitious plans for 2017. The good news is that many of you have given generously already this year – thank you! – and so we are planning for growth in 2017, adding staff and bolstering our influence.
So, to help HEAL – and to help Utah during such a key year – please considermaking a gift via our secure online portal now.
Let me tell you about three huge issues that we will work on in 2017.
First, we will fight Rocky Mountain Power's proposal to levy a trio of fees on rooftop solar which could cripple this clean energy industry just as it's taking off. We plan on hiring an expert and an attorney to boost our efforts to show the Public Service commission that Utahns who invest in clean energy are part of the solution – not a problem that needs to be pushed away.
Secondly, we will be pushing state air quality officials to come up with the best possible plan to clean up our air, after the EPA set the end of 2017 as a new deadline for Utah. It's been more than seven years since Utah began failing federal air standards and this coming year will be absolutely critical for coming up with the strongest measures available to reduce emissions from all sources.
Lastly, we expect a return of that bid from EnergySolutions to convince state officials to bring long-lasting depleted uranium to our West Desert, after the Department of Justice sued to block the company’s plans to acquire a competitor. DU is waste that remains hazardous for millions of years, radically different than the waste Utah takes currently. We will continue to apply pressure on Gov. Herbert and his staff to reject this dangerous nuclear waste bid.
A big year looms. We will face what's to come with your help. For now, we hope you enjoy the final days of 2016 with your family and friends. You’ll hear much more from HEAL soon.
Moab Sun News
December 22nd, 2016
With its water rights upheld by the Utah court system, the developer of a proposed nuclear power plant in Emery County is moving forward to capitalize on its assets, but critics of the project are questioning why it isn’t paying for them first.
Representatives of HEAL Utah, Living Rivers and Uranium Watch spoke before Utah Division of Water Rights officials at a public hearing in the Green River City Council chambers on Tuesday, Dec. 20, to protest the extension of the Blue Castle Project's water rights.
Read full article here