"Burnam: 'Top Secret' Documents Show Risks of Radioactive Waste Dump"

"With a manila envelope labeled 'TOP SECRET' propped up in front of him, state Rep. Lon Burnam, a Fort Worth Democrat, called on the Texas Attorney General to allow the public release of confidential information related to a West Texas radioactive waste dump owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons."

"Burnam said the documents, obtained after a two-and-a-half-year battle with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, show 'serious public health and safety risks' from the dump. Waste Control is awaiting final sign-off from TCEQ to open the Andrews County facility. That could come as soon as Friday, Burnam said. The company has made no secrets about its plans to become a national site for the burial of radioactive waste but has been beset by critics who say the dump is dangerously close to water tables and possibly the Ogallala Aquifer.

Burnam offered little in the way of specifics. 'Now I've seen some of the details but I can't tell you,' he told reporters at a press conference at the Capitol this morning. In September 2011, Burnam signed a confidentiality agreement with TCEQ. But because of a court ruling, Burnam had the documents released to him as a 'legislative privilege.'

As a general sketch of the confidential TCEQ documents, Burnam said they discussed the 'location of nearby groundwater tables, the margin of safety in the event of groundwater contamination, what solutions were and were not considered and the possible risk to the public of radiation.'"

Forrest Wilder reports for the Texas Observer April 16, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"Radioactive Waste May Soon Travel on DFW Highways"  (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

 

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012