Senate Approves Radioactive Waste Facility in Texas
Austin - Today the Senate voted to allow the disposal of low-level radioactive waste in Andrews County. "We want to get this waste out of our communities and into west Texas," said Bivins. He explained that currently, low-level radioactive waste is being stored in many places throughout Texas, including crowded downtown neighborhoods.
The Committee Substitute to House Bill (CSHB) 1567, sponsored by Amarillo Senator Teel Bivins, would allow the Texas Department of Health (DOH) to issue a license to a private company to construct and administer the nuclear waste site. The facility would be used to store low-level radioactive waste from hospitals, research institutions, power plants, and industrial activities and would be subject to state oversight from the DOH and other appropriate agencies.
"This basically makes Texas the dumping ground of...the United States," said Lubbock Senator Robert Duncan on the bill. He proposed an amendment to cap the overall capacity of the facility at 1.3 million cubic yards, instead of the 10 million written in the original bill. Bivins called that "an unreasonably low cap" that would have prevented the project from going forward because he said it would be hard to find a company to apply for this job if the cap is sanctioned. The Senate finally agreed on a compromise amendment by San Antonio Senator Jeff Wentworth, which set the cap at 6 million cubic yards.
The Senate also passed legislation to continue the Texas Lottery Commission for the standard twelve year period. The commission is responsible for administering and marketing the state lottery and regulating the charitable bingo industry through licensing and enforcement.
The Senate will reconvene Thursday, May 8, 2003, at 8:00 a.m. to consider Local and Uncontested Bills and will meet for session at 11:00 a.m.