2001 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Susan Gawarecki <loc@icx.net>
Date: 9 Apr 2001 19:31:56 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Bush Advisor Urges Killing DOE Cleanup Program To Fund Tax Cut
This news item was posted to the RadSafe list via EPA Region 8 and the
Colorado cleanup coordinator.  The original press release is found at: 
http://www.cei.org/PRReader.asp?ID=1412 and the referenced report is
available at:

DOE is only the first step.  If you think that the administration's
advisors have decided it's too expensive to remediate a handful of
contaminated DOE facilities (as bad as that hazardous and radioactive
contamination may be), just wait until they add up the cost of cleaning
up the DoD sites.  You should be asking your elected representatives
what side of this slippery slope they come down on.

Bush Advisor Urges Killing DOE Cleanup Program To Fund Tax Cut

A policy advisor to President Bush recommends that the administration
could help pay for its $1.6 trillion tax cut by eliminating the
Department of Energy's (DOE) nuclear waste cleanup program and
redesignating the contaminated sites as wildlife preserves.

A report by the advisor, titled From Waste to Wilderness: Maintaining
Biodiversity on Nuclear-Bomb-Building Sites, argues that the $6
billion spent each year on DOE's cleanup program is a waste of money and
only represents a boon to local lawmakers in the form of jobs and

"The DOE nuclear-waste-management program is arguably the biggest
boondoggle in all of current pork-barrel spending. The only losers
would be government officials who administer the present cleanup
program, short-sighted politicians, and local communities that desire
pork-barrel 'nuclear welfare,'" the report says.

The report is authored by Robert Nelson, an economist in the Interior
Secretary's office from 1975 through 1993, and a member of Bush's
environmental transition team. Nelson, a researcher at the Competitive
Enterprise Institute, says his goal is to gain support for his
plan amongst legislators and administration officials and have a
hearing on his proposal.

The report is being released as DOE and administration officials face
increasing criticism from lawmakers and environmentalists over a
proposed cut to the department's environmental cleanup budget. These
advocates argue that even flat funding levels would be insufficient to
allow numerous waste sites, including the Hanford, WA site to meet
legally-binding closure deadlines. Washington state officials are even
preparing a lawsuit against DOE in anticipation of the agency falling
behind schedule at Hanford.

Specifically, the report urges turning the five most-contaminated DOE
sites -- Oak Ridge, TN, Savannah River, SC, Rocky Flats, CO, the Idaho
National Environmental and Engineering Laboratory and Hanford -- into
wildlife refuges, because they are responsible for over 70 percent of
cleanup and containment costs. "Paradoxically, the presence of radiation
danger and national security concerns have meant that these very same
places offer some of the finest and least disturbed plant and animal
habitats in the United States," the report says.

Comment: The areas requiring cleanup are not the undisturbed habitats,
which are the buffer zones.  The areas requiring cleanup are industrial
settings where people currently work, dumps where wastes have been
improperly disposed of for decades, and streams and groundwater
discharging into rivers and aquifers that ultimately serve as public
water supplies.
Susan L. Gawarecki, Ph.D., Executive Director
Oak Ridge Reservation Local Oversight Committee
A schedule of meetings on DOE issues is posted on our Web site
http://www.local-oversight.org/meetings.html - E-mail loc@icx.net

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