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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) scheduled for passage in the House Tuesday.

In May, Matheson 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. In June, DOE announced the award of a four-year contract to begin remediation work.

"Keeping the cleanup effort on track remains one of my highest priorities. The 16-million-ton radioactive pile is a serious threat to the health and safety of Utahns and 25 million Colorado River water users downstream," said Matheson.

In addition, Matheson said the bill provides $414,000 for studying water delivery options to address chronic water shortages experienced by the Utah Navajos, including $300,000 for the San Juan River water pipeline study. It also includes $400,000 for equipment for the Science Center at Westminster College.

Matheson said the bill also provides funding for the Bureau of Reclamation, including $43 million for the Central Utah Water Project and $976,000 for the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission. Another $7.1 million is included for the Utah Mitigation and Conservation Fund.

Matheson said he's 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 more clarification is needed regarding the nation's nuclear defense strategy, before billions of taxpayer dollars are spent on a hypothetical new nuclear bomb that many scientific experts predict would require testing.

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