Andrews Businesses Rally Behind Waste Control Specialists

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - To store low-level radioactive waste or not? That's the big question the Texas Compact Commission has to decide and they're eyeing Waste Control Specialists (WCS) as a storage site. The Andrews Chamber of Commerce has decided to step in and help with that campaign. This week, they kicked off a new initiative hoping to rally support for an issue that's made headlines for months.

Propped up in windows, towering above lawns, and proudly displayed in store-fronts, the support for WCS in Andrews is almost everywhere you look.

"There is widespread community support," Robby Rogers, a local financial advisor said.

The Andrews business community is going all-out to make sure that - not only people in Andrews - but the Texas Compact Commission knows they're in favor of storing low-level radioactive waste at the WCS site.

"I hope the commission sees that this community supports WCS," Julia Wallace, Executive Director of the Andrews Chamber of Commerce, said. "We have people who don't support WCS, but the majority of them come from Austin, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, or somewhere else but not from this community."

The chamber got the signs on Tuesday, and already multiple businesses around town have begun collecting and displaying them.

"I think we'll see them all over town, for sure," Wallace said. "When I got here this morning, I hadn't been here five minutes and I had someone come in and ask for 20 signs. I think they'll go fairly quickly and we'll see a lot of them in town."

NewsWest 9 caught up with several businesses around town to find out if they plan to display the WCS signs and why.

"We're going to put a couple at our house as well as at the office just to show support for WCS, ongoing support as community members as well as with the Compact Commission coming in later this month / early June," Rogers said. "We would like to show support as they come to town."

"Whether we like it or not, we've got a lot of hazardous waste in this country and somewhere we have to be able to store it safely," Jerry Bevel, Cpl. Ray's Coffee and Southwest Realty Owner, said. "This part of the country offers that."

"We're not going into this not knowing what's going on," Chad Tompkins, West Texas Consultants, said. "We understand the type of waste, we understand the type of geology that's going on out there. That's the main message: We understand the project, we don't support it blindly. We understand it and still support it."

Originally, the next meeting in Andrews was scheduled for Tuesday the 11th but on Wednesday they decided to move it to the beginning of June. They're allowing anyone with comments a chance to address the Commission.