Leavitt Opposes Shipping Hotter Waste to Envirocare

Leavitt Opposes Shipping Hotter Waste to Envirocare

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Gov. Mike Leavitt has opposed the proposal to ship highly concentrated radioactive waste from an Ohio Superfund site to Envirocare's landfill in Utah.

"I am not prepared to support the importation of waste that is any hotter than what we are currently taking," Leavitt said Monday at his regular KUED news conference.

Earlier this month, at the request of Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah and a former Envirocare lobbyist, congressional leaders added language to an energy bill that would redefine the silo waste in Ohio to allow to be disposed of in a commercial landfill.

Envirocare is not currently licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to handle such waste, but is seeking authority to do so.

Meanwhile, the state is seeking authority to control waste like the mill tailings. Leavitt said that until Utah gains that regulatory power, there is little the state can do.

On another issue, Leavitt disputed the Outdoor Industry Association letter Sunday threatening to move the Outdoor Retailers trade show from Salt Lake City, because, it contended, Leavitt has failed to deliver on his promised protections for the state's wild lands.

Leavitt said his staff is reviewing every "acre of land that has wilderness quality" to identify tracts for protection. He also said the state will register objections to 15 oil and gas wells. And he plans to sign an executive order later this week to create an "economic ecosystem" to boost Utah's outdoor industry.

The governor said the organization's timing -- just before the U.S. Senate was to vote on his nomination to head the Environmental Protection Agency -- was suspect.

"It was intended to make a point. And they made their point," Leavitt said. "And my point is: We're doing everything we committed to do."

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

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