Utah Delegation Succeeds with Wilderness Area to Block Nuke Waste Transport
December 16, 2005
Washington DC-Congressman Jim Matheson joined the Utah congressional delegation today in announcing that legislation to create a wilderness area adjacent to Skull Valley in Utah's west desert is included in the final FY 2006 Defense Authorization bill. That legislation is expected to pass Congress this weekend.
The bill originally introduced by Utah's House members last spring designates nearly 100,000 acres in the Cedar Mountains as wilderness while ensuring continued access by the military to the Utah Test and Training Range utilized by Hill Air Force Base. It blocks construction of a proposed rail spur needed to transport the storage casks of spent nuclear fuel to the facility proposed by Private Fuel Storage on the Goshute Indian Reservation.
"The Utah delegation, with strong support from Governor Huntsman, has worked tirelessly on this. We had to overcome strong opposition from those who would bring this lethal waste to our state," said Matheson. "It was all worth it, in order to protect Utah families and Utah's future. I don't buy that this storage facility is temporary. I'm convinced that if the waste ever arrives, it will never leave."
Matheson said he also appreciated the efforts on the Senate side by Nevada Senator Harry Reid whose support was critical and who joined with Utahns to overcome opponents to the bill in the Senate. Earlier this week, the Utah and Nevada delegations joined forces to introduce legislation requiring high level nuclear waste to be stored on site, where it is produced, doing away with the need for transportation and storage of the waste to either Skull Valley in Utah or Yucca Mountain in Nevada.