Groups on both sides of issue respond to waste ban

Groups on both sides of issue respond to waste ban



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SALT LAKE CITY -- EnergySolutions is disappointed in a House vote to ban the imports of radioactive waste from other countries. Activists, however, are happy.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to keep low-level radioactive waste from being imported to the U.S. from other countries.

Heal Utah has been fighting for this bill ever since learning of a plan to import waste from Italy to eventually store in Utah. Executive director Vanessa Pierce says the 309-112 House vote shows it's not just a Utah issue.

"Americans don't want to see EnergySolutions dumping Italian or other foreign nuclear waste in the United States," she says.

But in a statement provided to KSL, the president of EnergySolutions says the House vote places American jobs at risk because if the bill becomes law, American companies won't be able to expand in the global nuclear energy industry.

Pierce disagrees. "I think they are confusing job growth and their personal economic interests with the good of the country," she says.

An identical bill is now in the Senate, but it does not have a Utah co-sponsor. The House bill was co-sponsored by Representatives Jim Matheson and Jason Chaffetz. Pierce is worried about how Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett will vote.

"It remains to be seen whether they are going to represent EnergySolutions' bottom line, or the interest of Utahns, who overwhelmingly oppose the importation of foreign nuke waste," she says.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

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Mary Richards

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