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Matheson: Tailings Cleanup Funding, Deadline in Energy & Water Spending Bill

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Matheson: Tailings Cleanup Funding, Deadline in Energy & Water Spending Bill

Congressman Jim Matheson said his deadline for completion of the Moab radioactive tailings pile cleanup-together with nearly $24 million in project funding-is included in the Energy & Water Appropriations bill-HR 2641. The bill was scheduled for passage in the House Wednesday.

Matheson last month amended a separate bill to establish the year 2019 as the tailings cleanup deadline, after the Department of Energy (DOE) announced its completion timetable wouldn't end until 2028.

"With contamination from the 16 million tons of radioactive waste threatening the health and safety of Utahns-plus millions of downstream Colorado River water users-I am committed to keeping the cleanup effort moving forward," said Matheson.

Matheson said $23.9 million for soil and water remediation at the former Atlas uranium mill tailings site-on the banks of the Colorado River near Moab-is in the appropriations bill. Matheson also included language that directs DOE "to provide a report within 120 days of enactment of this Act on the annual funding requirements needed to complete remediation of the Moab site, and removal of the tailings to the Crescent Junction site in Utah no later than the year 2019." Getting the cost estimate is critical to ensuring adequate federal appropriations to complete the work.

Matheson said he's also pleased by what is not included in the spending bill-more money for development of a proposed new nuclear weapon -the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Matheson said he agrees with the bill's directive that the administration should "develop a comprehensive nuclear defense strategy that defines the future mission, global threats and the specific characteristics of the U.S. nuclear stockpile" before spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money on a hypothetical new nuclear bomb that many scientific experts predict would require testing.

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