Public Comments due about WIPP and Triassic Park Hazardous Waste Permits
The Hazardous Waste Bureau of the New Mexico Environment Department has released documents for public review and comment about the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and the yet-to-be-built Triassic Park Waste Disposal Facility, both located in southeastern New Mexico. CCNS and our colleagues have prepared sample public comments for you to use and are available at http://nuclearactive.org/. Simply download, fill in the yellow areas, modify, copy and paste into an email, and hit “send.”
The first document is about the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) proposed modifications to the WIPP permit to update the contingency plan following the truck fire and explosion in February 2014, and reduce the amount of ventilation flow currently required when workers are emplacing waste in the mine. Public Notice at http://www.wipp.energy.gov/rcradox/rfc/Public_Notice.pdf and Permit Modification Request at https://www.env.nm.gov/wipp/documents/160603.pdf
DOE is proposing to reduce the ventilation flow to below 35,000 standard cubic feet per minute, which is the minimum amount established to protect workers from exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in the waste drums. DOE says the modification is necessary in order to re-open WIPP by the end of the year. DOE says they need the “flexibility” to reduce the flow so that they would not have to suspend waste disposal operations if the VOC levels rise above established levels. Workers then would have to work in personnel protective equipment with respirators once the ventilation flow is reduced.
Comments are due by 5 pm Mountain Daylight Time on Monday, August 8th, 2016. To download a sample public comment, please go to: WIPP-Sample-Public-Comment-8-4-16 and email to Ricardo.Maestas@state.nm.us
The second document is a draft permit for the construction and operation of a 35-acre landfill at the Triassic Park Hazardous Waste Facility, located on 480 acres of privately owned land between Roswell and Tatum in Chaves County, south of Highway 380. Gandy Marley, Inc. is the owner of Triassic Park. In 2002, they received a hazardous waste permit from the Environment Department for not only the landfill, but for facilities for storage and treatment of waste. Although the facility was not built, they are now proposing to build a 553,200 cubic yard landfill for U.S. generated waste, waste generated in foreign countries, and waste generated on-site for disposal. https://www.env.nm.gov/HWB/tpperm.html
Following the public hearing in 2001, the community participants filed a complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Civil Rights alleging discrimination in the Environment Department’s permit proceedings. EPA has yet to make a determination. Last summer, the community participants, four other non-governmental organizations and one individual filed a lawsuit against EPA to get action on their long-standing discrimination complaints. For more information, please visit http://sacredtrustnm.org/, http://sacredtrustnm.org/nmed-the-triassic-park-permit-just-as-bad-as-the-first-time/, http://sacredtrustnm.org/thirteen-years-counting-southeast-new-mexico-civil-rights-and-the-epa/ and http://nuclearactive.org/card-civil-rights-complaint-to-epa-about-triassic-park-thirteen-years-and-no-resolution/
Comments are due by 5 pm Mountain Daylight Time on Sunday, August 14th, 2016. To download a sample public comment, please go to: Triassic-Park-Sample-Public-Comment-8-4-16-2 and email to Dave.Cobrain@state.nm.us. NOTE: Additional sample comments will be available next week