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Governor Optimistic About EnergySolutions Deal

Governor Optimistic About EnergySolutions Deal

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Richard Piatt Reporting Governor Huntsman is not worried about EnergySolutions keeping its end of the bargain in a deal announced last week. However, critics say that a letter from the hazardous waste landfill company to the state DEQ, asking to withdraw an application for future waste, has a loophole in it.

We reported last week that EnergySolutions agreed to accept waste under its current permit for another 15 to 20 years, and that's it. But the group HEAL Utah, long-time critics of the landfill, has concerns. EnergySolutions sent a letter to withdraw its permit. But HEAL Utah says a sentence in that letter could be interpreted to mean the company can reapply in the future.

In his monthly news conference on Thursday, however, Governor Huntsman says he isn't worried, for practical and political reasons. "It will, in the future, be totally unacceptable to bring radioactive waste of any level into this state. And for an elected official to try and stand up and try and reopen that in the state would create a revolution, I think. I really do," Governor Huntsman said in his monthly news conference on KUED-TV.

The hazardous waste landfill in western Tooele County has been the center of emotional and political debate for years. EnergySolutions says it has made significant improvements that will keep ground water safe for centuries. It withdrew its application while it pursues other interests, such as nuclear fuel recycling.

Even with good intentions, legal documents and a handshake with the governor, lots of people are still suspicious. Groups like HEAL Utah plan to keep an eye on what the company is doing.

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