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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 - Continued

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Location: Washington DC

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005-CONTINUED

Mr. GRAHAM of South Carolina. The reason I speak as we close out this evening is to comment on a few things about the amendment pending before the Senate in regard to an effort to do two things: to make sure the $350 million that is available for the Department of Energy to provide cleanup in the States of Washington, Idaho, and South Carolina can move forward without any strings attached, and to ratify an agreement that the State of South Carolina has entered into with the Department of Energy concerning 51 tanks containing high-level waste.

I really do very much like my colleague from Washington, Senator Cantwell, but we dramatically disagree on this. I cannot emphasize how dramatically we do disagree about what is at stake and what we are trying to accomplish.

My senior Senator from South Carolina could not have been possibly better to me since I have been in the Senate almost 18 months now. He is going through some accusations that I find not consistent with who Senator Hollings is. I am not going to dwell on that, but I believe that most of us who know Senator Hollings very well believe he gives everybody the same treatment: Really hard. He is a fair man. He is a good man. We have some disagreement about how to handle the amendment before us, but I did not come to this issue without some time, attention, and thought to the matter.

Well over a year I have been involved with my State working with the Department of Energy to make sure that the 51 tanks that have high-level waste as a result of the cold war legacy material at the Savannah River site is cleaned up in a way that is environmentally sound for South Carolina, good for the taxpayer, and it makes sense.

I have a letter from the Governor of South Carolina. Contrary to what Senator Hollings suggested, the Governor of South Carolina not only knows what we are doing, he encourages what we are doing. I received a letter to that effect. I ask unanimous consent that the letter be printed in the RECORD.

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