From the Office of State Senator Kel Seliger, District 31

April 14, 2011
Contact: Gina Dowdy
(806) 374-8994

Senator Seliger Advances Low-Level Radioactive Waste Legislation

AUSTIN — Yesterday, State Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) passed Senate Bill 1504 (SB 1504), an important measure to strengthen the current regulatory framework for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste in Texas, particularly with regard to the issue of importation of waste generated outside of the state. "This legislation not only creates opportunities in Texas, but also a strong and safe regulatory structure for this important function," Senator Seliger stated.

Most notably, this legislation prohibits the importation of foreign waste, but does allow for waste generated outside the state to be disposed of providing that it does not exceed stringent thresholds as set in SB 1504. These limits are essential to ensure that capacity needs for Texas are adequately protected. Finally, the bill assesses a 20 percent surcharge on top of the rate for imported waste which will generate additional revenue for the state of Texas.

In 1980, U.S. Congress passed the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act which encouraged states to join in interstate agreements or compacts to provide for disposal of commercial low-level radioactive waste. Today, Texas' low-level radioactive waste site outside of Andrews, Texas, is operated by Waste Control Specialists, licensed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and overseen by the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission. The WCS facility is set to open within the next biennium.

"This state-of-the-art site, in line with the provisions of this bill, will not only address the waste disposal needs of Texas, but of the nation as well," said Senator Seliger.

The bill will now be sent to the Texas House of Representatives.

Seliger represents District 31 in the Texas Senate, spanning 26 counties from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin. Seliger currently serves as Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, as well as actively serving on the Education, Finance, International Relations and Trade, and Natural Resources Committees.