Every step in the nuclear fuel cycle has affected Utah. And when it comes to nuclear waste, Utah bears the unfortunate honor of being home to the nations largest low-level radioactive waste facility, operated by EnergySolutions.
A History of Waste
HEAL has fought to limit the waste that EnergySolutions (formerly Envirocare) has sought to bring to Utah for more than a decade now. And that’s not the only waste battles that HEAL and Utahns have waged. Let’s not forget the now defeated Private Fuel Storage facility, or even the proposed Yucca Mountain project in neighboring Nevada. Utahns have had their share of the nuclear waste experience.
Our EnergySolutions work, most recently, has zeroed in on stopping the company from bringing Depleted Uranium, waste the company wants to bring to our West Desert that would grow in hazard for more than two million years – long after the site can be safely controlled. Click the below video to find out more about the DU menace.
Prior to that, HEAL worked hard to stop the company from dumping foreign waste in Utah and from increasing the size of their site in Clive, Utah. We also succeeded in getting our State Legislature to pass a ban on hotter “B&C” wastes back in 2005 – a ban that EnergySolutions has repeatedly sought to circumvent, particularly in its bid in recent years to bring “blended” waste to Utah.
HEAL Utah remains dedicated to keeping Utah from being the dumping ground for all the world’s nuclear waste and to keeping a watchful eye on the corporate and government actors determined to continue to target our great state for all their messes.
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- Wasatch Environmental Update By John Warlock
Click above to hear a recent radio piece about our Depleted Uranium fight.
Recent Updates on Nuclear Waste…
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.
The Washington Times
Saturday, December 3, 2016
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Fears are being rekindled that a type of nuclear waste that grows more radioactive for 2 million years could end up buried in Utah’s west desert now that the federal government is trying to block the pending purchase of a company that has a site in Texas already approved to store the material.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit in mid-November against EnergySolutions, a Salt Lake City-based nuclear waste disposal company, over its pending acquisition of a competitor’s Texas facility that handles low-level radioactive waste, The Deseret News reported (http://bit.ly/2fEWImx ).
Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the department’s antitrust division said Waste Control Specialists is effectively the only competition EnergySolutions has faced since the Texas facility opened. “This competition has allowed customers to extract better prices and to receive more innovative service in the (low-level radioactive waste) disposal industry,” she said.
Read the original article here.Read more...
Amy Joi O'Donoghue
November 29, 2016
Critics of a plan to bury a unique form of radioactive waste in Utah's western desert fear a new federal lawsuit may hasten the arrival of the material that grows increasingly radioactive as it decays.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit in mid-November against Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions over its pending acquisition of Waste Control Specialists, which operates a competing west Texas facility handling low-level radioactive waste.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the DOJ's antitrust division said the Texas company is the only "real competition" EnergySolutions has faced since the Texas facility opened four years ago.
Read the full article HERE.Read more...