Thursday, June 03, 2004

Homeland Security?
Senate OKs easing nuclear sludge rules
WASHINGTON - The Senate on Thursday agreed to ease cleanup requirements for tanks holding millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste from Cold War-era bomb making.

Senate critics said the change would leave poisonous sludge in underground tanks and risk contamination of groundwater.

While supporters of the measure insisted it would apply only to waste at the Savannah River site, opponents said the change in nuclear waste policy would create a “clear precedent” that could force other states — mainly Washington and Idaho where there also are defense waste tanks — to accept less safe cleanup plans.

Cantwell, who led the push to kill the measure, accused the administration of trying to “sneak” the change in cleanup requirements through Congress by tacking it onto a defense measure in closed-door proceedings without hearings.

Having lived in Eastern Washington for a chunk of my life and cherish the Columbia River Gorge, I'm really scared how these changes will affect the cleanup of Hanford and the Columbia River. As Maria Cantwell said in this article "They are trying to create a loophole in the definition of nuclear waste big enough to drive a truck through and leave Washington state to deal with a mess that we don't want." This is not good.