BOISE, Idaho (August 23rd, 2018) — A proposal by the federal Department of Energy to ship about 33,600 barrels of nuclear waste to the Idaho National Laboratory has sparked citizen outrage across southern Idaho. The proposed shipments could start coming from Hanford, Washington, as early as 2019, and could violate terms of Idaho’s 1995 Nuclear Waste Agreement.
Since April, citizen concerns have been raised on Don’t Waste Idaho.org about the potential for these plutonium-contaminated materials to come to Idaho and remain here for years. The campaign has included public meetings, rallies and an online petition. Now, the Snake River Alliance has purchased advertising space on billboards across southern Idaho, encouraging people to call Idaho’s Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and stop nuclear waste.
Tracy Andrus, daughter of former Governor Cecil D. Andrus, is an advisor to the Don’t Waste Idaho campaign. “My father spent his life trying to keep Idaho from becoming the nation’s nuclear waste dumping ground,” said Andrus.
“The Department of Energy has been trying to circumvent Governor Batt’s agreement since the ink was dry. We need Attorney General Wasden to stand firm. Any backing away from our hard-won protections could open the door for long-term storage of everyone else’s nuclear waste above the drinking water of most of southern Idaho.”
Julie Hoefnagels, president of the board of the Snake River Alliance, has carried petitions to farmers’ markets and other events. “We’ve talked with lots of folks across the state who are worried,” said Hoefnagels. “Many people don’t know the history here. Hundreds of tons of nuclear waste were dumped in Idaho over decades, and liquid waste was even pumped into the aquifer. We are still in the middle of a $20 billion Idaho cleanup project. If Idaho doesn’t enforce our existing agreement, the Hanford waste could end up staying here as well.”
Wendy Wilson, executive director of Snake River Alliance, says transporting the plutonium-laced waste from Hanford across Oregon and Idaho could also be dangerous. “We haven’t received detailed information about how they propose to move these materials. Much of this waste is uncharacterized and potentially flammable. If there is a truck accident on a public highway, it could be just about anybody’s family in the next lane.”
The group has collected more than 2,000 petition signatures urging Attorney General Wasden to hold the Department of Energy to the terms of the 1995 Nuclear Waste Settlement Agreement and ensure the federal government cleans up the nuclear waste above the Snake River Aquifer.
“This is not a problem our Attorney General should be facing alone. We hope Idaho legislators, mayors and city council members will also stand up and voice their concerns,” said Wilson.
The Snake River Alliance raised funds online for six billboards in Boise and Twin Falls.
ABOUT Don’t Waste Idaho is supported by the Snake River Alliance, Idaho’s grassroots nuclear watchdog and clean energy advocate. The campaign’s Advisory group includes: Former aide to Democratic Governor Cecil Andrus Marc Johnson, Tracy Andrus of Eagle, Former state Representative Donna Pence (D-Gooding), Buhl-based farmers Leslee and James Reed, Twin Falls City Councilman Chris Talkington and Gary Richardson of Boise. Learn more at DontWasteIdaho.com or by calling (208) 344 9161.