[Congressional Record Volume 144, Number 77 (Monday, June 15, 1998)]
[Pages S6349-S6356]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I would like to speak out this evening 
about an enormously important issue that has seldom, if ever, been 
addressed on the floor of the United States Senate. I understand my 
colleague needs to leave at 7, and I am going to try to figure out a 
way to accommodate him if at all possible. My understanding is, I will 
also have a chance to speak more about this in morning business.
  This issue I want to address tonight has variously been called 
``environmental discrimination,'' ``environmental equity,'' 
``environmental justice,'' or ``environmental racism.'' These terms are 
used interchangeably to describe the well-documented tendency for 
pollution and waste dumps to be sited in poor and minority communities 
who lack the political power to keep them out.
  Environmental justice has been at the center of the debate over H.R. 
629, legislation granting congressional consent to the so-called Texas 
Compact. If passed unamended by this Congress, the Texas Compact would 
result in the dumping of low-level radioactive waste from nuclear 
reactors in Texas, Maine, and Vermont--and potentially from nuclear 
reactors all over the country--in the poor and majority-Latino town of 
Sierra Blanca in West Texas.
  Environmental justice is an issue that demands the full attention of 
the Senate. If we pass this legislation unamended, we can no loner 
pretend to be innocent bystanders as one poor, minority community after 
another is victimized by political powerlessness--and, in some cases, 
by overt racism. We can no longer pretend that a remedy for this basic 
violation of civil rights is beyond our reach. That is the ultimate 
significance of this legislation--and of this debate.
  The moral responsibility of the Senate is unavoidable and undeniable. 
If we approve H.R. 629 without conditions, the Compact dump will be 
built within a few miles of Sierra Blanca. There's really very little 
doubt about that. And if that happens, this poor Hispanic community 
could become the premier national repository for so-called ``low-
level'' radioactive waste.
  If we reject this Compact, on the other hand, the Sierra Blanca dump 
will not be built at all. The Texas Governor has said so publicly--more 
than once. It's as simple as that. The fate of Sierra Blanca rests in 
our hands.
  Compact supporters would prefer that we consider the Compact without 
any reference to the actual location of the dump. But that simply 
cannot be done. It's true that H.R. 629 says nothing about Sierra 
Blanca. But we know very well where this waste will be dumped. In that 
respect, the Texas Compact is different from other compacts the Senate 
has considered.
  The Texas legislature in 1991 already identified the area where the 
dump will be located. The Texas Waste Authority designated the site 
near Sierra Blanca in 1992. A draft license was issued in 1996. License 
proceedings are now in their final stages and should be completed by 
summer. Nobody doubts that the Texas authorities will soon issue that 
  There's only one reason why this dump might not get built--and that's 
if Congress rejects the Texas Compact. In an April 1998 interview, 
Texas Gov. George Bush said, ``If that does not happen,'' meaning 
congressional passage of the Compact, ``then all bets are off.'' In the 
El Paso Times of May 28, Gov. Bush said, ``If there's not a Compact in 
place, we will not move forward.''
  For these reasons, we cannot fairly consider H.R. 629 without also 
considering the dump site that Texas has selected. Sierra Blanca is a 
small town in one of poorest parts of Texas, an area with one of the 
highest percentages of Latino residents. The average income of people 
who live there is less than $8,000. Thirty-nine percent live below the 
poverty line. Over 66 percent are Latino, and many of them speak only 
  It is a town that has already been saddled with one of the largest 
sewage sludge projects in the world. Every week Sierra Blanca receives 
250 tons of partially treated sewage sludge from across the country. 
Depending on what action Congress decides to take, this small town with 
minimal political clout may also become the national repository for 
low-level radioactive waste. And I understand plans for building even 
more dump sites are also in the works.
  Supporters of the Compact would have us believe that the designation 
of Sierra Blanca had nothing to do with the income or ethnic 
characteristics of its residents. That it had nothing to do with the 
high percentage of Latinos in Sierra Blanca and the surrounding 
Hudspeth County--at least 2.6 times higher than the State average. That 
the percentage of people living in poverty--at least 2.1 times higher 
than the State average--was completely irrelevant.
  They would have us believe that Sierra Blanca was simply the 
unfortunate finalist in a rigorous and deliberate screening process 
that fairly considered potential sites from all over the State. That 
the outcome was based on science and objective criteria. I don't 
believe any of this is true.
  I am not saying science played no role whatsoever in the process. It 
did. Indeed, based on the initial criteria coupled with the scientific 
findings, Sierra Blanca was disqualified as a potential dump site. It 
wasn't until politics entered the picture that Sierra Blanca was even 
  I think it is worth taking a moment to review how we got to where we 
are today. The selection criteria for the dump were established in 
1981, and the Texas Waste Authority hired engineering consultants to 
screen the entire state for suitable sites.
  In March 1985, consultants Dames & Moore delivered their report to 
the Authority. Using ``exclusionary'' criteria established by the 
Authority, Dames & Moore ruled out Sierra Blanca and the surrounding 
area, due primarily to its complex geology.
  Let me quote from that report. Features ``applied as exclusionary as 
related to the Authority's Siting Criteria'' included ``the clearly 
exclusionary features of: complex geology; tectonic fault zones,'' et 
cetera. ``The application of exclusionary geological criteria has had a 
substantial impact'' in screening potential sites, the report observed.
  In its final composite, the report explained, ``Complex geology and 
mountainous areas in West, West-Central, and the Panhandle of Texas 
were excluded,'' including the Sierra Blanca dump site.
  The report also fund, ``Many tectonic faults occur in West Texas 
within massive blocks of mountain ranges. This area includes El Paso 
[and] Hudspeth'' counties ``and has undergone several phases or 
episodes of tectonic disturbance.''
  Finally, it went on to observe that, ``Although not excluded, the 
remainder of Hudspeth Country does not appear to offer good siting 
  So much for the science. Repeatedly since the early 1980s, the Waste 
Authority has come back again and again to this politically powerless 
area. It has designated four potential sites in all, and--with one 
revealing exception--all of them were in Hudspeth County. There are 
only three communities in the entire County, all of them poor and 
heavily Latino, and all of them targeted by the Authority.
  A 1984 public opinion survey commissioned by the Texas Waste 
Authority provides some useful context for the Authority's site 
selection process. The report, called ``An Analysis of Public Opinion 
on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal in Selected Areas,'' noted the 
benefits of keeping Latinos uninformed.
  The report states, ``One population that may benefit from [a public 
information] campaign is Hispanics, particularly those with little 
formal education and low-incomes. The Authority should be aware, 
however, that increasing the level of knowledge of Hispanics may simply 
increase opposition to the [radioactive dump] site, inasmuch as we have 
discovered a strong relationship in the total sample between increased 
perceived knowledge and increased opposition.''
  The first site to be targeted was Dell City in Hudspeth County. The 
El Paso Herald-Post of March 6, 1984 recounts the controversy over that 
site selection. ``The [Texas Waste] Authority has set up certain 
criteria as guidelines for choosing a disposal site. It appears

[[Page S6350]]

to be ignoring its own rules.'' ``The Authority, instead of abiding by 
its written criteria, has set up an unspoken, alternate rule for 
locating the site. That is, `The site shall be located where there are 
the fewest possible number of registered voters to protest.''' A 
disproportionately high number of Latinos in Hudspeth County are not 
registered to vote.
  The Herald-Post goes on to describe some of the political maneuvering 
behind the initial selection of Hudspeth County. ``The plot thickens. 
The University of Texas system owns 500,000 acres of land around Dell 
City. Mrs. Dolph Briscoe, wife of the former governor, sits on the 
system's Board of Regents. Briscoe has extensive land holdings close to 
the other proposed site. So at a public meeting on October 25, 1983, in 
Dimmit County, Briscoe said he was encouraging the Authority to locate 
the site `on state lands in Hudspeth County.' '' The editorialists at 
the Herald-Post conclude, ``We haven't exactly got any heavyweights 
defending our interests in this matter.''
  The one exception to the Authority's pattern of targeting the poor 
Latino communities in Hudspeth County was in 1985, after completion of 
the engineering consultants' report. Dames & Moore concluded that the 
``best'' sites were in McMullen and Dimmit Counties, and the Waste 
Authority settled on a site in McMullen County. But this decision met 
with fierce opposition from politically powerful individuals. So the 
Authority decided once again to move the dump back to Hudspeth County.

  At this point all pretense of objectivity was abandoned. The 
selection criteria were changed in 1985 so as to rule out the two 
``best'' sites identified by Dames & Moore. The new criteria gave 
preference to sites located on state-owned land. This change had the 
effect of virtually guaranteeing selection of a site somewhere in 
Hudspeth County, large portions of which are owned by the state of 
  So the Waste Authority proceeded to designate, based on an informal 
and cursory process, five sites in Hudspeth County. Its clear choice, 
however, was Fort Hancock, one of the County's three poor Latino 
  Unfortunately for the Authority, the more politically powerful city 
of El Paso next door decided to fight back. Together with Hudspeth 
County, El Paso filed suit against the site selection. They argued that 
the Hancock site was located in an area of complex geology--much like 
Sierra Blanca, incidentally--and lay on a 100-year flood plain. The 
amazing thing is that they won. In 1991 U.S. District Court Judge Moody 
ruled in their favor and ordered no dump could be built in Fort 
Hancock, Hudspeth County.
  But the county's court victory was short-lived. The Waste Authority 
was clearly not about to give up. The Authority went back to the state 
legislature to get around Judge Moody's decision by once again changing 
the rules. A legislator from Houston, far to the East where the big 
utilities are based, proposed a bill that ignored all previous 
selection criteria and designated Fort Hancock once and for all. 
Interestingly enough, this maneuver aroused a great deal of public 
indignation, precisely because of the Authority's perceived 
discriminatory practice of dumping on Latino communities.
  There was an impressive show of force against discrimination, but the 
outcome was not exactly what Hudspeth County had in mind. After Judge 
Moody's remarkable decision, lawyers for El Paso and the Waste 
Authority worked out a compromise. Fort Hancock would be saved, but a 
400 square mile area further north in Hudspeth County would take its 
place. This oblong rectangle imposed on the map--an area that included 
Sierra Blanca--was subsequently dubbed ``The Box.'' The Texas 
legislature passed the so-called ``Box Law'' by voice vote only days 
before the end of session in May 1991.
  Once again, the previous site selection procedures were stripped 
away. The Box Law repealed the requirement that the dump had to be on 
public land, the very requirement that has pointed the Authority 
towards Hudspeth County in the first place. This was necessary because, 
at that time, the Sierra Blanca site was not public land at all.
  Most importantly, to prevent another troublesome lawsuit like the 
Fort Hancock debacle, the Box Law essentially stripped local citizens 
of the right to sue. It denied them all judicial relief other than an 
injunction by the Texas Supreme Court itself, and for this unlikely 
prospect citizens would be required to drive 500 miles to Austin.
  This story is depressingly familiar. A similar scenario unfolds over 
and over again in different parts of the country, with different names 
and faces in every situation. Sometimes there is no intention by anyone 
to discriminate. But pervasive inequalities of race, income, and access 
to the levers of political power exercise a controlling influence over 
the siting of undesirable waste dumps.
  The people who make these decisions sometimes are only following the 
path of least resistance, but in far too many instances the result is a 
targeting of poor, politically marginalized minority communities who 
lack the political muscle to do anything about it.
  The remarkable thing about this story is that some people in Hudspeth 
County did fight back. Dell City fought back and won in the early 
1980s. Fort Hancock fought back and won their court case in 1991. And 
make no mistake, the people of Sierra Blanca are fighting back, too.
  Many of them have been here on the Hill. Father Ralph Solis, the 
parish priest for Sierra Blanca and Hudspeth County, was here in 
February, and visited many Senate offices. These people know that the 
odds are stacked against them, but they are persevering just the same.
  One of the amendments I included in this bill is intended to give 
them a fighting chance. It gives them their day in court--the right to 
challenge this site selection on grounds of environmental justice. It 
says that the Compact cannot be implemented in any way--and that would 
include the siting process, the licensing process, or the shipment of 
waste to that site--that discriminates against communities because of 
their race, national origin, or income level.
  If local residents can prove discrimination in court, then they can 
stop the Compact Commission from operating the dump. They don't have to 
prove intent, by the way, although that certainly would be sufficient. 
All they have to show is disparate treatment or disparate impact.
  I believe very strongly that the Compact raises important and 
troubling issues of ``environmental justice.'' And a diverse array of 
civic organizations agree with me about this.
  The Leadership Council on Civil Rights, the Texas NAACP, the Sierra 
Club, the League of United Latin American Citizens (or ``LULAC''), 
Greenpeace, the Bishop and the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, the House 
Hispanic Caucus, the United Methodist Church General Board of Church 
and Society, Friends of the Earth, Physicians for Social 
Responsibility, the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic 
Justice, and the National Audubon Society, to name just a few, agree 
with me. I ask unanimous consent that a letter signed by these and 
other organizations be printed in the Record at the end of my 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (See exhibit 1.)
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I know some of my colleagues don't 
believe issues of environmental justice are implicated here. Or they 
may think this is not a question for the Senate to decide. I believe 
this amendment meets those concerns. All my amendment does is give 
local residents the right to make their case in court. There is no 
guarantee they will win. After all, it is extremely difficult to prove 
environmental discrimination. I don't see how anyone would want to deny 
these people a chance to make their case.
  Short of defeating the bill outright, I believe passing this 
amendment is the only way for us to do right by the people of Sierra 
  Yet, as amazing as it sounds, Compact proponents also claim to have 
the best interests of Sierra Blanca at heart. They claim the Compact 
will protect local residents because it keeps out waste from states 
other than Maine and Vermont. They have used this argument again and 
again, in Sierra Blanca, in the Texas legislature,

[[Page S6351]]

in the House of Representatives, and they're using it again in the 
United States Senate.
  Supporters of the Compact are trying to have it both ways. When 
challenged about the environmental justice of targeting Sierra Blanca, 
they respond that no site has been selected, and environmental justice 
can only be addressed if and when that ever happens.
  Then in the same breath they insist that the dump in Sierra Blanca is 
definitely going forward and the Compact is therefore necessary to 
protect local residents from outside waste. So which is it? Either the 
Sierra Blanca dump is a done deal or it's not.
  The truth is, the most likely scenario is that the dump will be built 
in Sierra Blanca if Congress approves this Compact, subject to any 
legal challenges, but the project will not go forward if Congress 
rejects the Compact.
  The claim that the Compact will protect Sierra Blanca makes no sense 
on its face. The dump is unlikely to be built without congressional 
consent to this Compact; it does not need to be built; and the Compact 
would not protect Sierra Blanca in any event.
  The simple fact of the matter is that the dump will most likely not 
be if the Compact fails. Governor Bush has made it very clear that the 
dump will not be built if Congress rejects the Compact. So the argument 
that Sierra Blanca needs the Compact for protection against outside 
waste is nonsensical. If Texas does not build a dump in Sierra Blanca, 
local citizens do not need to be protected from anything. Far from 
protecting Sierra Blanca, the Compact only ensures that a dump will be 
built in their community.
  An article from the Texas Observer of last March explains why the 
Compact is necessary for the dump to go forward. ``Texas generates 
nowhere near enough waste on its own to fill a three million cubic feet 
dump, and by its own projections [the Texas Waste Authority] could not 
survive without Maine and Vermont's waste.''
  Moreover, the Texas legislature has indicated it will not appropriate 
funding to build the dump if Congress rejects this Compact. Texas 
lawmakers refused the Waste Authority's request for $37 million for 
construction money in FY 1998 and FY 1999. In fact, the Texas House 
initially zeroed out all funding for the Authority, but funding for 
licensing was later restored in conference committee. My understanding 
is that construction funding was made contingent on passage of the 
Compact, whereupon Maine and Vermont will each be required to pay Texas 
over $25 million.

  In fact, the Sierra Blanca dump does not really need to be built. You 
might have seen the headline in the New York Times on December 7 of 
last year: ``Warning of Excess Capacity in Nation's Nuclear Dumps--New 
Technology and Recycling Sharply Reduce the Volume of Nuclear Waste.''
  The article discusses a study by Dr. Gregory Hayden, the Nebraska 
Commissioner for the Central Interstate Compact Commission. Dr. Hayden 
found that ``there is currently an excess capacity for low-level 
radioactive waste disposal in the United States without any change to 
current law or practice.''
  He went on to explain, ``These disposal sites have had low 
utilization due to falling volumes since 1980. Thus, a high capacity 
remains for the future, without any change to the current configuration 
of which states may ship to which disposal site.'' Let me repeat the 
essential point: there is no compelling need for any new low-level 
radioactive waste dumps in this country. And if no new dump is built, 
nobody can argue that the Compact is needed to protect Sierra Blanca.
  The most popular argument for building another dump involves disposal 
of medical waste. I'm sure all of you have heard it. It's claimed that 
waste from medical facilities and research labs is getting backed up--
that it has to go somewhere.
  But let me emphasize one central and indisputable fact: over the last 
few years, over 99 percent of the waste from Maine and Vermont has come 
from nuclear reactors. Less than one percent has been from hospitals 
and universities. And from all three states, 94 percent of the low-
level waste between 1991 and 1994 came from reactors. This dump is 
being built--first and foremost--to dispose of radioactive waste from 
nuclear reactors, not from hospitals.
  So why are the nuclear utilities hiding behind hospitals and 
universities? It's not very hard to figure out. In 1984 the Texas Waste 
Authority hired a public relations firm to increase the popularity of 
nuclear waste. The PR firm recommended, ``A more positive view of safe 
disposal technologies should be engendered by the use of medical 
doctors and university faculty scientists as public spokesmen for the 
[Texas Waste] Authority.'' ``Whenever possible,'' the report said, 
``the Authority should speak through these parties.''
  Well, that advice has been followed to the letter. We all have 
sympathies for hospital work and university research. I know I do. But 
that's beside the point. This controversy is really about waste from 
nuclear reactors.
  If a dump is built nevertheless, the Compact offers little protection 
for local residents. The Compact Commission would be able to accept 
low-level radioactive waste from any person, state, regional body, or 
group of states. All it would take is a majority vote of the 
Commissioners, who are appointed by the Compact state governors.
  Why should the people of Sierra Blanca expect unelected commissioners 
to keep waste out of their community? Is there anything in their recent 
experience that would justify such faith?
  The fact is, the state will have every economic incentive to bring in 
more waste. The November 1997 report by Dr. Hayden concluded that ``the 
small volume of waste available for any new site would not allow the 
facility to take advantage of economies of scale. Thus, it would not 
even be able to operate at the low-cost portion of its own cost 
  The new dump will need high volume to stay profitable. The Texas 
Observer reports, ``A 1994 analysis by the Houston Business Journal 
suggests that the Authority would open the facility to other states to 
keep it viable.''
  We have here the potential for establishing a new national repository 
for low-level nuclear waste. Not only will Texas have an incentive to 
bring in as much waste as possible, but the same will be true of 
nuclear utilities. The more waste goes to Sierra Blanca, the less they 
will be charged for disposal.
  Rick Jacobi, General Manager of the Texas Waste Authority, told the 
Houston Business Journal: ``The site is designed for 100,000 cubic feet 
per year, which would be about $160 per cubic foot. But if only 60,000 
cubic feet per year of waste arrives, the price would be $250 per cubic 
foot.'' That's a big difference.
  As Molly Ivins says, ``That sure would drive up costs for Houston 
Lighting and Power and Texas Utilities.'' And the going rate at one 
existing dump is a whopping $450 per cubic foot. In the end, it will be 
in the economic interest of everyone--from the nuclear utilities to the 
Waste Authority--to ship as much waste to Sierra Blanca as they can.
  My second amendment addresses this problem. Throughout the process of 
approving the Compact, supporters claimed the waste would be limited to 
three states. I want to hold them to that promise. My amendment puts 
that promise in writing.
  I doubt anyone would disagree that this understanding was shared by 
everyone who participated in the Compact debate. If Compact supporters 
truly plan to limit waste to three states, which has been everyone's 
understanding all along, they can have no objection to my amendment. 
It's nothing but a protection clause. A nearly identical amendment--
called the Doggett Amendment--was attached to the bill passed by the 
  There are other issues I was not able to address with amendments. I 
think there is a fundamental concern about whether this kind of 
disposal is safe at all. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) warns 
that, despite the hazards involved, waste will be buried in 
soil trenches destined to leak, as have nuclear dumps in Kentucky, 
Illinois; and Nevada. LCV did score the House vote on final passage, 
and has announced that it may score Senate votes as well. I ask 
unanimous consent to place the LCV letter in the Record.

  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

[[Page S6352]]

                                League of Conservation Voters,

                                   Washington, DC, March 12, 1998.
     Re oppose the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal 
         Compact Consent Act.

     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC
       Dear Senator: The League of Conservation Voters is the 
     bipartisan, political arm of the national environmental 
     movement. Each year, LCV publishes the National Environmental 
     Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of 
     Congress on environmental legislation. The Scorecard is 
     distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide and 
     the press.
       Soon the Senate may be voting on S. 270, The Texas Low-
     Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act. LCV 
     urges you to vote against this bill, which is the key to 
     opening a new nuclear dump near Sierra Blanca, Hudspeth 
     County, Texas.
       More than 99% of the radioactive waste shipped from Maine 
     and Vermont in recent years was generated by nuclear 
     reactors. Despite the misleading classification of ``low-
     level,'' many of these wastes are highly concentrated and 
     some can give a lethal dose in about five minutes. Atomic 
     power plant waste in this category includes long-lived 
     elements like plutonium-239, which remains hazardous for 
     240,000 years, and cesium-135, which remains hazardous for 20 
     million years.
       Despite its hazards, the waste would be buried in Texas in 
     unlined soil trenches destined to leak, as nuclear waste 
     dumps in Kentucky, Illinois and Nevada have. A survey of 27 
     other nations with radioactive waste programs found that not 
     one of these nations allows shallow land burial of such long-
     lasting nuclear materials.
       The selection of a poor Mexican-American community (which 
     is already the site of one of the largest sewage sludge 
     projects in the U.S.) has caused local environmentalists to 
     file a civil rights complaint against the Texas. Maine and 
     Vermont radioactive waste agencies. Furthermore, dumping 
     radioactive waste near Sierra Blanca, approximately 16 miles 
     from the Rio Grande River, would violate the 1983 La Paz 
     agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, which commits both 
     countries to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution 
     affecting the border area.
       LCV's Political Advisory Committee will consider including 
     votes on S. 270 in compiling LCV's 1998 Scorecard. Thank you 
     for your consideration of this issue. If you need more 
     information please call Betsy Loyless in my office at 202/
                                                     Deb Callahan,

  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, there is also an obvious concern about 
the unsuitability of Sierra Blanca's geology--the exclusionary 
criterion from the 1985 Dames & Moore report. Sierra Blanca is situated 
right in the middle of the state's only earthquake zone. Its 1993 
license application stated that this is ``the most tectonically active 
area within the state of Texas.'' In April 1995 there was a 5.6 
earthquake 100 miles away, in Alpine, Texas. And there have been two 
tremors in the area in the last four years.
  Radioactive Waste Management Associates (RWMA) of New York has 
conducted an independent investigation of the dump site and found its 
geology unsuitable for disposal of radioactive waste. RWMA notes that

     research by the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal 
     Authority has found that [there is] a fault in the bedrock 
     buried beneath the Sierra Blanca site. Groups of earth 
     fissures up to seven feet deep occur nearby.

  RWMA concludes that

     some important natural features of the site--its seismic 
     hazard, its buried fault, and nearby earth fissures--are not 
     suited to radioactive waste isolation. In our professional 
     opinion, these are fatal flaws which mean that the proposed 
     Sierra Blanca site cannot provide a high degree of assurance 
     of waste containment.

  I ask unanimous consent to enter the letter from RWMA into the 
  The concern about the environmental impact of this dump extends well 
beyond the border. The Mexican equivalent of the EPA announced its 
opposition on March 5 on grounds that the Sierra Blanca dump poses an 
environmental risk to the border region. On February 11, the Mexican 
Congress, represented by its Permanent Commission, declared

     that the project in Sierra Blanca in Texas, and all such 
     dumping projects along the border with Mexico, constitute an 
     aggression against national dignity.

  Moreover, the project apparently violates the 1983 La Paz Agreement 
between Mexico and the US, which commits both countries to prevent 
pollution affecting the border area. I ask unanimous consent to enter 
these statements by Mexican authorities into the Record.
  The environmental justice amendments I proposed have been endorsed by 
several newspapers and civic organizations. The Fort Worth Star-
Telegram of May 1, 1998 reads,

       The amendment to the Texas/Maine/Vermont Compact by 
     Minnesotan Sen. Paul Wellstone is a good one. Too often in 
     our country's industrialized history, poor, politically 
     powerless minority communities have been targeted for 
     unwanted hazardous waste dumps. . . . The Wellstone amendment 
     needs to stay in the final version of the bill.

  The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights wrote to likely conferees 
on May 14, 1998,

       The Senate-passed bill contains two amendments sponsored by 
     Sen. Paul Wellstone that we urge the conferees to include in 
     any final conference report.

The Leadership Conference states that

     a matter of increasing concern to the civil rights community 
     [is] the disparate treatment of poor and minority communities 
     regarding environmental siting issues, also known as 
     environmental justice.
       In recent years, our nation has gained a better 
     understanding of the national pattern of discrimination in 
     the placement of waste and pollution sites in 
     disproportionately poor and minority communities.

  By the end of their letter, the Leadership Conference ``strongly urge 
the inclusion of the Wellstone/Doggett amendments in any final bill 
approved by Congress.''
  The Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society wrote on 
April 30, 1998, ``We applaud and support these [Wellstone] amendments. 
They are a small victory for the victims of environmental racism.''
  The Sierra Club wrote on June 4, 1998, ``Sen. Paul Wellstone has 
introduced two amendments that would improve the bill,'' though the 
Sierra Club believes the bill remains deeply flawed. I ask unanimous 
consent that all these statements be placed in the Record.
  Not everyone has been so supportive, of course. I think it would be 
appropriate for me to respond to some of the arguments that have been 
raised against my amendments.
  First, it's been suggested that passage of my amendments would 
require states to reratify the Compact. Second, a recurring theme 
echoed by Compact supporters is that Congress has never before attached 
these kinds of conditions to a state compact. Third, Senators from 
Compact states have suggested that no environmental discrimination 
could possibly have occurred in this case because residents of Sierra 
Blanca actually support the dump. Finally, it has also been claimed 
that the Compact is a state or local matter, in which people from other 
states have no business interfering.
  As a preliminary matter, I question the relevance of these 
arguments--at least with respect to the Wellstone/Doggett amendment. 
This question has already been settled. Both the House and Senate have 
agreed to limit waste to the three Compact states. There really is very 
little for the conference committee to decide. I do not understand why 
we are even having this discussion at this stage in the process.
  Nevertheless, I do want to respond to some of these arguments 
individually. First: the reratification argument. I believe there may 
be some confusion as to what my amendments actually do. As the House 
parliamentarian found with respect to the Doggett amendment, these 
amendments do not actually alter the Compact itself. Instead, they 
impose conditions on the consent of Congress.
  The Compact, for constitutional reasons, cannot go into effect 
without that consent. And Congress has already conditioned its consent 
on certain other requirements. My two amendments simply add to that 
list of congressional conditions.
  With regard to the Wellstone/Doggett limitation, there's no reason 
why this amendment should require reratification. When the Compact made 
its way through the legislative process the first time, everybody 
understood that waste would be limited to the three states. My 
amendment only reaffirms the common understanding of everyone involved. 
Why should states be required to reaffirm a principle to which they 
have already given their consent?

  I'm not sure this conclusion is really so controversial--even within 
the Compact states themselves. I have in my hands an internal 
memorandum from Roger Mulder of the State Energy Conservation Office of 
the Texas General Services Commission. Mr. Mulder was an environmental 
aide to Gov. Richards and handled Compact issues in the Richards 
Administration. His memo is addressed to John Howard, an environmental 
adviser to Governor Bush. It is

[[Page S6353]]

dated October 10, 1997, just days after passage of the Doggett 
amendment in the House.
  The first line of the memo reads, ``There appears to be a unanimous 
agreement that the Doggett amendment does not require the Texas Compact 
to be returned to the state legislatures.'' ``Unanimous agreement.'' 
That's not just the view of Mr. Mulder. According to his memo, that 
view is universally held.
  The Mulder memo goes on to note that ``Maine appears to be leading 
the charge in the effort to drop the Doggett amendment.'' The reason? 
``There is speculation that Maine believes it can send its 
decommissioned waste to Barnwell, South Carolina,'' get credit for the 
waste it otherwise would have sent to Texas, and ``then sell that 
credit at a substantial profit for Maine.'' That's what Mr. Mulder's 
memo says, at least.
  Nevertheless, I have been willing--and remain willing--to allay any 
legitimate concerns Compact supporters may have about the need for 
reratification. I offered to instruct conferees to put Congress on 
record--in the statement of managers--that no reratification is 
required. My offer was rejected.
  The second argument advanced by Compact supporters is that no 
previous Compact has received such shabby treatment at the hands of 
Congress. Even if Congress had never before attached these kinds of 
conditions, that would say nothing about how Congress should treat THIS 
Compact. Why should we be bound by what prior Congresses have done?
  And besides, this Compact is different from previous ones. We know in 
advance where the Texas dump will be located. And this particular site 
selection raises important questions of environmental justice.
  Third, Compact supporters go so far as to claim that local residents 
actually support the Compact, and therefore no discrimination could 
have been involved in the site selection. Even if it were true that the 
dump enjoyed local support, I don't see what this has to do with site 
  But more importantly, my argument that local residents should have a 
chance to challenge the dump site does not depend--one way or the 
other--on whether the proposed Compact dump is popular in Hudspeth 
County. I am simply saying that there should be some forum to resolve 
the claims of environmental discrimination that have been raised. I 
cannot say for certain what the outcome of such a challenge would be. 
But local residents should at least have a chance to make their case.

  In any event, the argument that local residents support the dump is 
simply not true. I am surprised to hear it being made. Local 
congressmen of both parties seem to agree on this point. The Republican 
congressman who represents Hudspeth County, Henry Bonilla, wrote to the 
Senate on March 13, 1998: ``My constituents adamantly oppose this 
  In a letter to senators dated February 2, Democratic Congressmen 
Doggett, Reyes, and Rodriguez wrote,

       The [House] bill passed despite overwhelming opposition by 
     the residents in Hudspeth County, Presidio County, Jeff Davis 
     County, Culberson County, Val Verde County, Reeves County, 
     Webb County, Brewster County, the cities of Sierra Blanca, 
     Del Rio, Brackettville, Marfa, Van Horn, and Alpine, and the 
     governor of the neighboring state of Chihuahua.

  In fact, 22 of the surrounding counties have passed resolutions 
opposing the dump, as have 11 nearby cities. No city or county, to my 
knowledge, has passed a resolution in favor.
  Jeff Davis County did pass a resolution of support while under the 
impression that the Compact would keep waste out of Texas. When 
informed that the Compact would do no such thing, they reversed their 
vote almost immediately. Compact lobbyists nevertheless continue to 
cite the first resolution.
  The only poll ever taken in Hudspeth County showed massive opposition 
to the dump. In 1992 the Texas Waste Authority commissioned K 
Associates of El Paso to conduct a telephone poll. That poll found 64 
percent of Hudspeth and Culberson County residents opposed the dump.
  Opposition was surely even stronger than that, since poor residents 
without telephones were greatly underrepresented in the survey. Only 33 
percent of respondents to this poll were Hispanic, while Hispanics 
account for 66 percent of the local population. As a general 
proposition, I understand that the dump is much more unpopular with the 
Latino majority than with the white minority.
  I don't know anyone who has ever attended a local meeting over the 
dump could have any doubts about how local residents feel. Over 700 
county residents showed up at a public hearing on April 21, 1992. While 
90 people spoke, only two supported the dump. At another public hearing 
in August 1996, over 80 percent of those attending spoke out against 
the dump.
  Local opponents of the dump have collected an overwhelming number of 
signatures in opposition. Over 800 local residents, all of them adults, 
have signed petitions opposing the dump. These include two out of four 
commissioners on the County Commissioner's Court--Wayne West and Curtis 
Carr. (A third commissioner--Jim Kiehne--has publicly stated his 
  My understanding is that dump supporters have only managed to collect 
around 30 to 40 names. Many who signed the petitions in support of the 
dump later said they were confused; the petition claimed to be 
protecting Sierra Blanca from outside waste. Some of them have also 
signed petitions opposing the dump.
  I think the most reliable testimony about local opposition to the 
dump comes from Father Ralph Solis, the Catholic parish priest for 
Sierra Blanca and Hudspeth County. He visited Washington in February to 
let Senators know how much his parishioners oppose their dump:

       Before leaving for Washington D.C., the people of the 
     parish said to me, ``Please, father, make them understand 
     that we do not want radioactive nuclear waste.'' All of us in 
     far west Texas implore the Senate to take a good look at us 
     and realize that we are real people in danger and without any 
     real voice. . . . We beg the Senate to stand with us as like 
     our sisters and brothers from other faiths and Christian 
     denominations from across the country. I am here with this 
     group from West Texas, a few small voices trying to speak for 
     so many. Please, we beg you, do not abandon us.

  Citizens across the state seem to feel the same way. In a state wide 
poll conducted in October 1994, 82 percent of Texans opposed ``the 
proposal to store out-of-state radioactive materials in Texas near 
Sierra Blanca.'' Only 13 percent favored the proposal.
  Senators from Compact states have touted the views of two local 
figures as proof of Sierra Blanca's support for the dump. One of these 
individuals is a banker who heads the local economic development 
commission, which is funded by the Texas Waste Authority. My 
understanding is that he is a resident of Santa Teresita, not of Sierra 
Blanca. He developed a connection to Sierra Blanca in 1994 when he 
became president of the local bank.
  The other local figure is Judge James Peace, the County Judge who 
presides over the County Commissioners' Court. Both Judge Peace and 
other Compact supporters have claimed his reelection in March of this 
year, with 54 percent of the vote, is proof that local voters support 
the Compact. But can anyone honestly claim that the dump was an issue 
in his reelection campaign, or that local residents were aware of his 
position on the dump?
  An editorial in the Hudspeth County Herald of April 17, 1998, 
addresses Judge Peace's claims. It says that the March elections were 
not a referendum on the dump, and that many other issues were involved. 
``In no way, Judge Peace, was the dump implied in the last election.'' 
More importantly, it says, ``Your letter states that you have always 
been a vocal supporter of the dump . . . which is not true. Do you 
remember your first campaign? You told the folks when you sat in their 
living rooms that you were opposed to the dump.''
  Judge Peace recently traveled to Washington and met with me in my 
office. He is a very nice man, and I very much enjoyed our meeting. 
Indeed, Judge Peace told me directly to my face that he supports the 
Wellstone/Doggett amendment. He later wrote me a letter reversing 
his position. I can see why local residents might be a little confused 
about where he stands.

  Finally, it is argued that the Compact is a matter for the three 
states to decide, that selection of the dump site is Texas' business, 
and that outsiders should mind their own business. More specifically, I 
have been asked why, as

[[Page S6354]]

a senator from Minnesota, I should have such a deep and abiding 
interest in this matter.
  The simple answer is that, if this were only a matter for the three 
states to decide, H.R. 629 would not be before the Senate. The Compact 
cannot go into effect without the consent of Congress. And the dump 
will not go forward without the Compact.
  The decision whether to build this dump depends on how we decide to 
proceed on this bill. That's what it boils down to. It is quite obvious 
to me that we cannot avoid responsibility for our votes and our actions 
in this matter.
  My driving concern has always been very simple. I cannot stand by and 
watch while a poor, politically powerless, Latino community is targeted 
to become the premier repository of low-level nuclear waste for the 
entire country. Much less give it my blessing. Not when I have the 
power to do something about it.
  As a very basic proposition, I think we can all agree that it's wrong 
for poor, politically powerless, minority communities to be singled out 
for the siting of unwanted hazardous waste dumps. It's wrong when that 
happens in Sierra Blanca, and it's wrong when it happens in hundreds of 
other poor minority communities all across this country.
  I want to do whatever I can to stop it, and I don't see why every one 
of us should not want to do the same. I don't understand why it should 
be considered unusual for a senator to care about these things. On the 
contrary, I think it should be unusual for a senator not to care about 
these things.
  The broader point is that environmental justice is not just a local 
issue, but a national one. There are some issues of fundamental justice 
that rise to a level of national importance, and this is surely one of 
  I think it's high time for the Senate to just say ``no.'' Not just to 
the Sierra Blanca dump, but to a national pattern of discrimination in 
the location of waste and pollution. We have to face up to these urgent 
issues of environmental justice--sooner rather than later.
  The primary reason I came to the floor today was to draw my 
colleagues' attention to the pressing issue of environmental justice. 
But I had another motive as well. I wanted to explain the history of 
the debate over this bill.
  I wanted to make sure there is no confusion over what agreements have 
been made, how the Senate amendments would work, what the mandate of 
the conference committee is, and what we can expect if the conference 
violates that mandate.
  Let us step back for a moment and review how we got to where we are 
today. Over the past year I expressed vehement opposition to any 
Compact legislation that did not address the issue of environmental 
justice. I offered my two amendments in an effort to do just that. The 
resulting standoff prevented this bill from coming to floor for almost 
a year.
  Finally, about three months ago, senators from Compact states agreed 
to include my two amendments. On April 1 of this year, the Senate 
unanimously approved them both.
  Unfortunately, however, after agreeing to my amendments, senators 
from Compact states suggested publicly that the amendments should be 
stripped in conference committee. So as a condition of going to 
conference, I insisted that conferees be instructed to keep the 
amendments in any bill reported back to the Senate.
  Let me, since I will have time to talk more about this and I want to 
accommodate my colleague, talk about one other amendment that we have 
also attached to this piece of legislation.
  This amendment, Mr. President, essentially says, if colleagues are 
going to say that there should only be radioactive waste from Maine and 
Vermont, if that is what the Texas legislature intended, then we should 
make it clear when we pass this compact that that will be the case. 
This was the Doggett amendment in the House of Representatives which 
passed the House, and this was also a part of an amendment that has 
passed the Senate as well.
  Let me just kind of be clear about what this unanimous consent says. 
We are now instructing the conference committee that they are to 
support these two amendments, which the Senate has now gone on record 
supporting. All of my colleagues are on record, because the Senate has 
voted to support these two amendments, that the people at least should 
have a chance to go to court. And, if they can prove discrimination, 
they ought to be able to make their case.
  They ought to at least be able to make that appeal. And secondly, if 
we are saying that this waste is only going to come from Maine and 
Vermont because the people in Sierra Blanca and people of Texas are 
worried this will become a national repository site for nuclear waste, 
then we make it clear in the amendments that, indeed, will be the case.
  Now, Mr. President, in conclusion, although I will have more to say 
all week about this, Senators from the compact States were first 
reluctant to give those instructions. Their objections have delayed the 
conference for the last month. Then last week--and I am glad they did 
so--they withdrew their objections and agreed to insist on the 
Wellstone amendments. It was this agreement that will allow H.R. 629 to 
go to conference.
  In other words, I will keep my word all the way through. I said I was 
just trying to get these amendments onto the bill because I think these 
amendments would lead to much more fairness and much more justice for 
the people in Sierra Blanca.
  Well, now we are about to go to conference and I only want to 
emphasize one point. The Senate has now agreed unanimously, including 
Senators from the compact States, to instruct conferees on the 
Wellstone amendments. Conferees should not report back to the Senate 
any bill that has been stripped, where the amendments have been taken 
out. Without those environmental justice amendments, there should be no 
bill. If there is a compact which is approved without the people in 
Sierra Blanca having the right to challenge this in court, if they can 
show discrimination, and without the assurance that this waste will 
only come from Vermont and Maine, then this will be an injustice and 
the Senate should not let that happen. Any attempt to strip these 
amendments from the bill, which is what the nuclear utilities would 
like conferees to do, would make a mockery of the House and Senate 
votes to include the Wellstone and the Doggett language. It would make 
a mockery of Senate instructions and would make a mockery of our 
professed concern for environmental justice.
  When the House and Senate have both decided to include these 
amendments, the conference committee really has no business trying to 
strip them out. I think that would be the kind of backroom deal that 
makes Americans disgusted with politics. That would be the legislative 
process at its worst--serving the interests of the nuclear utilities 
over interests of people who lack comparable access to the levers of 
political power.
  If that happens, Mr. President, not only would Congress be denying a 
remedy for environmental discrimination, not only would Congress be 
giving a green light to the Sierra Blanca dump, not only would Congress 
be giving a seal of approval to the targeting of a poor majority-Latino 
community for disposal of radioactive waste, if the conference 
committee proceeded to drop these amendments, they would provide a 
striking example of unequal access to political power here in 
Washington that produces environmental discrimination in the first 
  The issue of environmental justice deserves better than that. The 
people of Sierra Blanca deserve better than that. And the American 
people have a right to expect a higher level of conduct from their 
elected representatives. I will take advantage of every procedural 
means at my disposal to make sure that does not happen.
  Mr. President, to accommodate my colleague's schedule, the Presiding 
Officer, I conclude my remarks and yield the floor.

[[Page S6355]]

                             EXHIBIT NO. 1

         Sierra Club, League of United Latin American Citizens 
           (LULAC), Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), 
           National Audubon Society, Friends of the Earth, U.S. 
           Public Interest Research Group, Public Citizen, 
           Greenpeace, Greenpeace Mexico, Catholic Diocese of El 
           Paso, Save Sierra Blanca, and 109 National, 
           International, Regional, Statewide and Local 
                                                   March 11, 1998.
     Senator Paul D. Wellstone,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Wellstone: We ask that you vote against S. 
     270, the ``Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact 
     Consent Act'' because it:
       Approves of what appears to be environmental racism that 
     resulted in selecting a poor \1\ Mexican American community 
     \2\ which does not want the dump \3\ and is already the 
     location of one of the largest sewage sludge projects in the 
     country.\4\ It is one of numerous proposed radioactive and 
     hazardous facilities along the Mexican border.
     Footnotes at end of letter.
       Although the Compact does not expressly designate Hudspeth 
     County, the Faskin Ranch near Sierra Blanca clearly has been 
     chosen and a draft license approved. The decision Congress 
     now faces on Compact approval cannot be made in a vacuum, 
     ignoring serious environmental justice questions that have 
     been raised about the site selection process. Congressional 
     approval would make challenging the unjust procedures that 
     have been carried out, in apparent contradiction of the 1994 
     Executive Order on environmental justice, more difficult 
     because more out-of-state money, pressure and legal 
     commitments will come to bear.
       We caution Congress not to be complicit in what has become, 
     whether intentional or not, a repulsive trend in this country 
     of siting the most hazardous and undesirable facilities in 
     poor communities with high percentages of people of color. 
     Texas is second only to California, another proposed 
     radioactive dump state, in the number of commercial hazardous 
     waste facilities located in communities with above-national-
     average percent people of color.\5\
       Deals with intensely radioactive materials which, despite 
     their classification as ``low-level,'' are not low risk and 
     include all the same elements as high-level waste from 
     nuclear power and weapons. Nationally, nuclear power waste 
     comprises the vast majority and medical waste consistently 
     comprises less than one tenth of a percent of the 
     radioactivity in so-called ``low-level'' waste.\6\ For Main 
     and Vermont, 99.5% to 100% is from nuclear reactors \7\ and 
     lasts for centuries. In contrast, medical treatment and 
     diagnosis wastes characteristically have tiny amounts of 
     relatively low-concentrations of radioactivity with very 
     short hazardous lives.\8\ Options other than burial with 
     reactor waste are technically viable and need exploration.
       Potentially threatens the Rio Grande by permitting burial 
     of long-lasting (hundreds to millions of years hazardous 
     \9\), highly concentrated wastes (some can give a lethal dose 
     in about 5 minutes \10\) in soil trenches destined to leak 
     \11\ and requiring only 100 years of institutional 
       According to the 1993 license application for the Sierra 
     Blanca site, it is part of ``the most tectonically active 
     area within the State of Texas.'' The atomic waste is 
     proposed to be buried directly above a fault. This presents 
     an unacceptable risk from earthquakes.
       Violates the 1983 La Paz Agreement with Mexico in which 
     both countries agreed to cooperate to ``. . . prevent, reduce 
     and eliminate sources of pollution . . . which affect the 
     border area . . .'' The site, approximately 16 miles from the 
     Rio Grande, is well within the ``border area'' (63 miles on 
     each side of the border).
       Opens the door to waste from all over the country, despite 
     claims to the contrary. The Compact has numerous provisions 
     \13\ for importing radioactive waste from more generators 
     than those in Maine, Vermont and Texas. The Compact 
     Commission (governors' appointees from Texas, Maine, Vermont 
     and any future party states) will have the power, without 
     legislative or local approval, to enter into agreements to 
     take waste from out of compact.\14\ With a majority vote of 
     the Compact Commission and the Texas legislature, other 
     states may become party states. So, to claim that the Compact 
     protects from other states dumping is misleading and false.
       Has numerous loopholes in the provisions that are touted to 
     limit out-of-compact waste volume to 20% of the amount Texas 
     dumps. This is misleading because it is the amount of 
     radioactivity that is of concern. There is no limit on the 
     amount of radioactivity that can be imported into the 
     proposed Texas dump. Wastes imported from non-party states 
     via agreements are not subject to the 20% limit. The limit is 
     only an estimate based on a 50-year projection and it can be 
     changed.\15\ It does not apply to wastes brought in for 
     ``processing.'' A major radioactive waste processor has 
     entered into an option agreement \16\ to lease property 
     neighboring the proposed dump, thus indicating another avenue 
     for unlimited volumes of radioactive waste going to Hudspeth 
       Appears to violate Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act 
     passed by Congress to prevent discriminatory activities and 
     prohibiting use of federal money for programs that 
       Will result in thousands of miles of unnecessary 
     transportation of dangerous radioactive materials including 
     plutonium, cesium, and strontium from atomic power plants. 
     Wastes will be trucked from Maine, Vermont, east Texas and, 
     very likely, other locations, to the border area.
       For these reasons, we urge that you give S. 270 close 
     scrutiny and a ``No'' vote.
       For further information (including contact information on 
     the following signers) please contact Diane D'Arrigo at 
     Nuclear Information and Resource Service (202) 328-0002 (ext 
           Thank you,
       Signers Opposing S. 270, The Texas Compact and Sierra 
     Blanca Nuclear Waste Dump:
       ACES/Hudspeth Directive for Conservation, Alliance for 
     Survival, Americans for a Safe Future (CA), Arizona Safe 
     Energy Coalition, Asociacion Mexicana de Estudios para la 
     Defensa del Consumidor, Asociation Ecologica Santo Tomas, 
     Audubon Council of TX, AWARE, Andrews, TX, Blue Ridge 
     Environmental Defense League, Border Coalition Against 
     Radiation Dumping, Border Environmental Network, California 
     Communities Against Toxics, Catholic Diocese of El Paso, 
     Center for Environmental Health, Citizen Alert (NV), Citizen 
     Action Coalition of Indiana, Citizens Awareness Network (New 
     England), Citizens Protecting Ohio, Citizens at Risk: Cape 
     Cod (MA), Citizens Energy Coalition (NJ), Coalition for 
     Nuclear Power Postponement (DE), Comite de Derechos Humanos 
     de Tabasco, Committee for a Safe Energy Future (ME), 
     Communities Helping Oppose Radioactive Dumping (NJ), 
     Connecticut Opposed to Waste, Consejo Ecologico de Mazatlan, 
     Conservation Council of North Carolina, Crescere, Desert 
     Citizens Against Pollution, and Donald Judd Foundation (TX).
       Earth Day Coalition (OH), Earth Island Institute, 
     Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, EarthWINS (WI), 
     Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Power (PA), Fort Davis TX 
     Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Earth, GE Stockholders 
     Alliance, Global Resource Action, Grandmothers for Peace 
     Internat'l., Greenpeace, Greenpeace Mexico, Grupo De Los 
     Cien, Grupos de Estudios Ambientales, Hightower Radio, 
     Hoosier Env'tal Council (IN), HOPE (NE), Houston Audubon 
     Society, Indigenous Environmental Network (AK), Indigenous 
     Environmental Network, Internatl'l Env'tal Alliance of the 
     Bravo, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), 
     Madres de East Los Angeles, Marfa TX Chamber of Commerce, 
     Mennonite Central Committee, Wash. Office, Missouri 
     Coalition for the Environment, and Movimiento Alterno para 
     la Recuperacion de los Ecosistmas.
       Nat'l Env'tal Coalition of Native Americans, National 
     Audubon Society, NC WARN, NC Ground Zero, New England 
     Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, Nuclear Guardianship Project, 
     Nuclear Waste Citizens Coalition, Nuclear Information & 
     Resource Service, Oilwatch Mexico, Oyster Creek (NJ) Nuclear 
     Watch, Peace Farm, Amarillo, People Organized to Stop Toxics, 
     Dallas, People for Community Recovery (IL), Physicians for 
     Life, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Plutonium Free 
     Future, Prairie Island Coalition (MN), Prairie Alliance (IL), 
     Presbyterian Church USA, Wash. Office, Presidio County TX 
     Attorney, Public Citizen, and Public Citizen Texas.
       Radioactive Waste Management Associates, Rio Grande 
     Restoration (NM), Safe Energy Communication Council, Save 
     Sierra Blanca, Save Ward Valley, Shundahai Network, Sierra 
     Club, Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund, SMART (Mothers 
     Against Radioactive Transport), South West Organizing 
     Project, Southern Organizing Committee for Economic and 
     Social Justice, Southwest Network for Environmental and 
     Economic Justice, Southwest Public Workers Union, Serious 
     Texans Against Nuclear Dumping (STAND), Students for Earth 
     Awareness, Texans United, The Greens/Green Party USA, and 
     Three Mile Island Alert.
       U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Union of American 
     Hebrew Congregations, Union de Grupos Ambientalistas de 
     Mexico, United Methodist General Board of Church & Society, 
     Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Yggdrasil Institute 
     (US/France), ZHABA, Water Information Network, West Texas 
     Catholic Ministries, Westchester Peoples Action Coalition, 
     and Women's International League for Peace & Freedom.


     \1\ 1990 Census of Population and Housing, Hudspeth County, 
     Texas, pg. 1. Per capita income $7,994.
     \2\ Neighbor, Howard D. ``Low-Level Radioactive Dumpsiting in 
     West Texas: Another Example of Texas Racism?'' University of 
     Texas at El Paso, delivery at WSSA/ABS, January 22, 1994, 
     p.6: ``65% of Hudspeth County population is Mexican 
     \3\ Telephone survey prepared for Texas Low Level Radioactive 
     Waste Disposal Authority by K Associates, El Paso, TX, 
     January 1992.
     \4\ Salopek, Paul and David Sheppard, El Paso Texas, 
     ``Desert-bound Waste: Poison or Promise?'' June 14, 1992, 
     ``It will be the nation's largest effort to artificially 
     fertilize desert rangeland with human waste.'' MERCO Joint 
     Venture, an Oklahoma based waste handler is land spreading NY 
     City sewage sludge in the same area as the proposed atomic 
     waste site.
     \5\ Goldman, Benjamin A. and Laura Fitton, ``Toxic Wastes and 
     Race Revisited,'' Center for Policy Alternatives, NAACP and 
     United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, 1994, 
     \6\ DOE annual State-by-State Assessments of LLRW Shipped to 
     and Received at Commercial Disposal Sites 1985-1995.

[[Page S6356]]

     \7\ State-by-State Assessment of Low-Level Radioactive Wastes 
     Received at Commercial Disposal Sites, DOE/LLW-181 (1993), 
     DOE/LLW-152 (1992) DOE/LLW-132 (1991), DOE/LLW-224 (1994), 
     DOE/LLW-237 (1995).
     \8\ Hamilton, Minard, ``Radioactive Waste: The Medical 
     Factor,'' Nuclear Information and Resource Service, January 
     \9\ The hazardous life of a radioactive material is generally 
     10 to 20 half-lives, the time it takes to decay to a 
     thousandth to a millionth of the original amount. The 
     radioactive waste from atomic power plants that would go to 
     Sierra Blanca includes plutonium-239 hazardous for 240,000 to 
     480,000 years, iodine-129 hazardous for 170 to 340 million 
     years, cesium-135 hazardous for 20 to 40 million years, 
     cesium-137 hazardous for 300 to 600 years, nickel 59 
     hazardous for 800,000 to 1.6 million years.
     \10\ Cesium-137 can be present in ``low-level'' radioactive 
     waste up to 4600 curies per cubic meter (NRC 10 CFR 61.55 
     ``Waste Classification.''), and that amount can deliver a 
     lethal dose in approximately 5 minutes.
     \11\ Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations 10 CFR 
     61.41 ``Protection of the General Public from releases of 
     radioactivity'' allows ``[c]oncentrations of radioactive 
     material [to be] . . . released to the general environment in 
     ground water, surface water, air, soil, plants or animals'' 
     that results in doses up to 25 millirems/year to whole body 
     and any organ but the thyroid which can receive 75 millirems/
     year. ``Millirems are an expression of biological damage to 
     tissue from ionizing radiation and not directly measurable. 
     Such a standard is unenforceable, relying upon unverified 
     computer modeling to predict, no guarantee, compliance.
     \12\ NRC regulations 10 CFR 61.59(b) NRC ``Institutional 
     control. . . . institutional controls may not be relied upon 
     for more than 100 years . . .''
     \13\ HR 629/S.270: Section 2.01(13) Texas, Maine and Vermont 
     are only the ``initial'' party states; Section 3.05(6) 
     Authority to ``[e]nter into an agreement with any person, 
     state, regional body, or group of states for the importation 
     of low-level radioactive waste into the compact for 
     management or disposal . . .;'' Section 7.01 ``Any other 
     state may be made eligible for party status . . .''
     \14\ HR 629/S.270: Section 3.05(6).
     \15\ HR 629/S.270: Section 7.09. The compact expressly 
     provides for contracting and compacting with more states.
     \16\ ``Option Agreement,'' The Scientific Ecology Group, Inc. 
     and Cynthia Hoover, March 7, 1994.
     \17\ Carman, Neil J., Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club, ``Civil 
     Rights and Environmental Justice Executive Order 
     applicability to proposed Low-Level Radioactive Waste Dump 
     near Sierra Blanca, Texas'' letter, June 24, 1994.