REASONS TO OPPOSE THE TEXAS-MAINE-VERMONT RADIOACTIVE WASTE COMPACT
Steve Crowley, President, Vermont Chapter of Sierra Club
The people of West Texas don't want it. In fact they haven't even been asked, although 20 counties and 10 cities have voted their opposition. This in contrast to Vermont, where a simple "No, thank you" was all it took to prevent even a geologic screening of potential sites in a town.
The city of Juarez in Mexico, two Mexican states, and the Mexican national congress (in a unanimous vote!) have all declared this to be a violation of the 1984 La Paz Treaty, banning pollution within 100 km of the border.
The plan relies on an "Out of sight, out of mind" waste management strategy. This is a big mistake, since underground storage has routinely leaked at existing sites, and since some of the waste is anything but "low level" in its degree of hazard.
Alternative strategies do exist, using above or below ground storage vaults that can be securely monitored for the radioactive life of the waste. The small volume of most hazardous and long-lived products can be sent to already existing higher level facilities.
Hundreds of shipments of tens of thousands of tons of material over thousands of miles of roads present an unacceptable and foolish exposure to unnecessary risk.
We in Vermont have exercised the privilege and the power to turn away the wastes that have been created for our benefit. The people of West Texas have had no such privilege, and have been specifically targeted, according to actual planning documents, because they are poorly educated, low income, and Mexican American; in short, unlikely to mount any political opposition.
It is just not right for us to create this material here in Vermont, and then put blinders on and ship that highly toxic material thousands of miles away.