Envirocare Seeks to Increase Size of Operations

Envirocare Seeks to Increase Size of Operations

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Envirocare of Utah is seeking a permit to increase the size of its low-level radioactive waste dump operations in Tooele County.

The company is requesting a change in its state permit in order to build new waste handling facilities, a rail line, an administration building and a disposal cell.

Envirocare spokesman Mark Walker on Wednesday said the company needs to upgrade the aging rail line and "rollover," where the waste is emptied from train cars. The company also needs a new crusher for waste compaction and a shredder.

Critics quickly seized on the expansion plans, sending out e-mails calling the permit-change request an attempt to "supersize" the facility 80 miles northwest of Salt Lake City.

"They are treating the rail expansion as a Trojan horse to get the approval for waste disposal. Once they get legislative approval, they could begin taking waste," said Jason Groenewold, director of the environmental advocacy group Healthy Environment Alliance Utah.

The expansion would add 35 to 50 years of disposal operations to the landfill, he said.

Walker agreed that the waste operation could expand into the acreage Envirocare's new owners purchased from former Envirocare President Charles Judd.

"But right now that's not what it would be used for," Walker said.

The original acreage allows the facility to operate another 17 to 20 years without expanding onto the new property, he said.

Envirocare Chief Executive Steve Creamer and two investment firms bought the 543-acre waste facility from Khosrow Semnani in December. The sale closed Jan 31.

At that time, Envirocare's new owners announced they would give up their regulatory permit to accept "hotter" B and C waste. A law banning the waste has since gone into effect.

Under state law, the expansion proposal must receive approval from Tooele County, the Legislature and the governor. Some legislators are pushing to have the matter considered at the April 20 special session.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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