House Committee Supports Nuclear Waste Ban Bill
A New Mexico House Committee has approved a bill that would ban spent nuclear material from being stored in or transported through the state.
The legislation aims directly at a proposed privately owned and operated spent nuclear waste interim storage facility in southeast New Mexico.
The House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to the bill on a 5-4 vote.
Holtec International has proposed building the facility in Carlsbad. Supporters, like Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway say it will create 350 jobs and three-billion dollars worth capital investment.
“The proposed Holtec project is the safest and most secure dry storage technology available and the NRC is in the process of a very technical review,” he said. “We will also note that nuclear power is absolutely central to tackling the climate crisis.”
But bill supporters like Committee Chair Matthew McQueen say the potential hazards outweigh the economic benefits.
He says New Mexico has already done enough regarding nuclear power.
“We still have downwinders suffering from those impacts. We have two national labs which are important parts of our state but aren’t without a downside,” he said. “So we’ve done our part. I don’t want to accept other people’s waste and that’s what this is.”
The Senate version of the bill introduced by Jeff Steinborn is in the Judiciary Committee.