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house Bill H.R. 1138

Should Radioactive Waste Cleanup at the West Valley Project in New York Be Reauthorized Thru FY2026?

Argument in favor

The West Valley Demonstration Project is expensive to clean up, and additional federal funding is needed to ensure the nuclear waste cleanup effort is sufficiently funded for years to come.

mkettleson's Opinion
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03/03/2019
Please support this bill. This nuclear waste disposal remediation site in Western New York needs continued funding until it is no longer dangerous to public health.
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MenloPark's Opinion
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03/05/2019
I get that there are significant costs to cleaning up hazardous waste but feel strongly that we should right the wrongs of the past when it comes to mistakes of this magnitude, if nothing else to ensure that the pain of cleaning things and that those who pollute our planet are held accountable for the past so that we may protect against others in the future feeling like they can make similar disasters without repercussions.
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Argument opposed

This bill represents a 30 percent increase over the 2010 funding level for the West Valley Demonstration Project, and it isn’t immediately clear that a funding increase is needed.

John's Opinion
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03/05/2019
Think they need to make sure the funding is needed and for what exactly
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Langho's Opinion
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03/05/2019
No these companies know what they’re doing they take on the responsibility they get paid and you want to give them more tax dollars no
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Energy Subcommittee
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Energy
    IntroducedFebruary 11th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1138?

This bill would reauthorize the West Valley Demonstration Project with $75 million in funding for each of the fiscal years 2020 through 2026.

In addition to this funding, the bill would request that, within 18 months of this bill’s passage, the Comptroller General submit a report to Congress detailing:

  • The volumes, origins, and types of radioactive waste at the West Valley Demonstration Project;
  • What options have been identified for disposal of each such type of radioactive waste;
  • What’s known about the costs of, and timeframes for, each option;
  • The benefits and challenges of each option, according to New York and the Dept. of Energy (DOE);
  • How much has been spent on the disposal of radioactive waste associated with the demonstration project as the date of this bill’s enactment; and
  • What volumes and types of radioactive waste have been disposed of from the West Valley Demonstration Project as the date of this bill’s enactment.

Impact

West Valley, New York; West Valley Demonstration Project; and the Comptroller General.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1138

$345.00 Million
When this bill was introduced in the 115th Congress, the CBO estimated that implementing it would cost $345 million over the 2019-2023 period, assuming appropriation of the specified amounts

More Information

In-DepthRep. Tom Reed (R-NY) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to reauthorize the West Valley demonstration project at $75 million in each of the years 2020-2026. When he introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, he said:

“We are proud to be an unrelenting advocate for West Valley and care about ensuring a fair amount of funding for the complete and total cleanup of this nuclear site. This bill offers clarity for our friends and neighbors and ensures the health and safety of our environment for years to come.”

Scott Anderson, West Valley Deputy General Manager, said, “We are fully supportive of the $75 million allocation. That will be extremely helpful in maintaining the cleanup momentum we have established at West Valley.”

In a joint statement, Ashford Town Supervisor Charlie Davis and West Valley Citizen Task Force Board Member and Ashford Town Council Member John Pfeffer said:

“The Town of Ashford appreciates Tom’s diligence and commitment to the West Valley Demonstration Project Act. Funding the project at the current level allows for the timely completion of decommissioning activities that are required under the Act and are beneficial to the people working at and living near the West Valley Demonstration Project.  Completion of cleanup activities will allow the Town of Ashford work towards a better use of the site in the future."

This bill has one cosponsor, Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY). Last Congress, Rep. Reed introduced a version of this bill that would have reauthorized the West Valley demonstration project through FY 2025 with the support of five bipartisan cosponsors, including four Democrats and one Republican. The bill passed the House with by a voice vote, but didn’t receive a vote in the Senate.


Of NoteThe West Valley Demonstration Project (VWDP), formerly Western New York Service Center, was established by the West Valley Demonstration Project Act of 1980. The Act requires that the Dept. of Energy (DOE) solidify the high-level waste, dispose of waste created by the solidification, and decommission the facilities used in the process.

There are currently about 34,000 cubic feet of waste at West Valley. New York state says that the material has similar characteristics to defense-related transuranic waste disposed of at the DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico. However, the DOE has taken the position that the West Valley waste isn’t defense-related, and is therefore ineligible to go to WIPP.

According to federal statute, New York is responsible for 10 percent of the cleanup cost at West Valley. However, in 2006, New York sued the DOE, asking the court to determine the level of federal responsibility under the law, including long-term stewardship of the site, and seeking reimbursement of its costs and compensation for some aspects of the West Valley cleanup effort.

The $75 million a year that this bill calls for is a 30 percent increase in funding since Rep. Reed was first elected to Congress in 2010.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / vchal)

AKA

To reauthorize the West Valley demonstration project, and for other purposes.

Official Title

To reauthorize the West Valley demonstration project, and for other purposes.

    Why is this even a question?
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    Please support this bill. This nuclear waste disposal remediation site in Western New York needs continued funding until it is no longer dangerous to public health.
    Like (2)
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    I get that there are significant costs to cleaning up hazardous waste but feel strongly that we should right the wrongs of the past when it comes to mistakes of this magnitude, if nothing else to ensure that the pain of cleaning things and that those who pollute our planet are held accountable for the past so that we may protect against others in the future feeling like they can make similar disasters without repercussions.
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    It should be authorized until such time as there is no threat.
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    This site needs to be cleaned up as quickly as possible. However, there needs to some penalties for the company Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. for the mess that was created once they had left the site. The nuclear contamination that exists at this site is at least partially the result of years of mismanagement by this company and there needs to be serious financial penalties for their poor management.
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    Think they need to make sure the funding is needed and for what exactly
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    Americans need to feel safe wherever they live; if there are radioactive sites that need to be cleaned then get it done. Across the nation - wherever it is needed. Would members of Congress volunteer to live in zip codes that are deemed radioactive?
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    Fund the clean up and keep strict oversight of spending. If money can be de-obligated great, if not the funding is in place and the clean up can continue.
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    why zhould thi not be approved?
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    No these companies know what they’re doing they take on the responsibility they get paid and you want to give them more tax dollars no
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    I normally am highly suspect of anything proposed by a Republican. In this case, the funding needs to be authorized, and the cleanup completed. It would also help if the DOE worried less about the classification of the box and more about the risk to people.
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    Although I generally distrust anything that Republicans introduce, this project, from what I have been able to find our about it, seems necessary for the safe housing of radioactive material waste storage.
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    Yea
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    In the long run, increased funding of the West Valley Demonstration Project will save money if they keep the workforce they have and keep going vs. piecemeal parts of it over a longer period of time. There has been a great deal of progress - the highly radioactive liquid waste that once was in the ground is above ground in a solid form, many ancillary buildings have come down - including the vit building. Let's keep this momentum up and right the wrong that was done to Western New York so many years ago. This isn't a political vote - this is a vote to do the right thing. Clean it up - now.
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    We have to keep our waste
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