Mayor and Opponent Oppose Proposed Radioactive Shipment

Mayor and Opponent Oppose Proposed Radioactive Shipment

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Both Mayor Rocky Anderson and his re-election challenger, fellow Democrat Frank Pignanelli, oppose federal legislation that would reclassify highly concentrated radioactive waste from an Ohio Superfund cleanup so it could be shipped to Envirocare's hazardous and radioactive waste landfill in Utah.

Congressional conference committees should not manufacture new law without consideration by both houses of Congress, Anderson said in urged Utah's congressional delegation to pursue "every available measure" to remove the provision from the energy bill.

He is contacting members of Congress who are finalizing the energy-policy bill for a possible vote this week or next.

"Over the last four years, we have aggressively fought the shipment of high-level waste through Salt Lake City to Yucca Mountain, the storage of nuclear waste on the Goshute Reservation, and made clear our opposition to the storage of class B and C wastes at Envirocare," Anderson said. "Now, Utah and Salt Lake City, through which the majority of this waste would pass, are being targeted by back-room politicking that leaves the public and their elected representatives completely out of the decision-making process."

Pignanelli also wants Congress to drop the reclassification.

Last year Pignanelli ran the unsuccessful Initiative 1 campaign to ban hotter radioactive waste from Utah.

"This is contrary to our right as a state to decide what waste comes in and doesn't come in," Pignanelli said.

The reclassification provision would allow the U.S. Energy Department to circumvent state law, he said.

"This is going to be imposed on us," Pignanelli said, "and we are never going to have a discussion."

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, requested that the reclassification be included in the energy bill last summer.

Bishop, a former Envirocare lobbyist whose district includes the Envirocare site, contends it would be cheaper and safer for the waste to be shipped by rail to the Utah landfill than for it to be trucked through Utah to the Nevada Test Site.

Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, has asked conference committee members to strip the provision from the final bill.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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