Promote Andrews Speaks Out Against Waste Control Specialists

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - The group, Promote Andrews is speaking out against Waste Control Specialists (WCS) and their disposal plan for low level radioactive waste - all because of a new proposal that's come to light. Instead of just housing waste from Texas and Vermont, the WCS site may also store waste from 36 other states.

The commissioners who oversee the Compact Commission are now considering allowing 36 other states to bring their low-level radioactive waste to the Andrews site. The Promote Andrews group told NewsWest 9, they want to make sure the community knows exactly what they're getting into.

Promote Andrews was originally formed to encourage business growth, including adding an alcohol sales license hoping to attract new development. The group's president told NewsWest 9, their new stance against WCS isn't just about promoting their hometown - it's about protecting it.

"We're trying to see what promotes our community and this is one of the things we don't believe will promote Andrews," Amanda Villalobos, President of Promote Andrews, said.

But when the Texas Compact Commissioners announced they would consider allowing waste to come in from 36 more states, Promote Andrews decided it was time to step out.

"It's alarming," Villalobos said. "It's frightening to me."

After coming out against the town's second largest employer, Promote Andrews has been flooded with email and Facebook messages from community supporters.

"There's a large majority of the people that are for WCS - they're supportive of the company," Villalobos said. "That's what we're up against - having a lot of people get angry at our organization because we've spoken up against them."

But on the other hand, WCS tells NewsWest 9, the waste, like clothing or materials from hospitals and research labs, from those other states is exactly the same waste that's coming from Texas or Vermont, but if there's extra space at the site, the commission will consider storing it too.

"A glove is a glove," Tom Jones with Waste Control Specialists, said. "It's regulated exactly identically to Texas and Vermont, so I don't think most people see it as an issue."

WCS officials say the leaders of Promote Andrews have never come to them with their concerns.
"I'm really disappointed that he hasn't come and asked us or expressed a concern," Jones said. "If he had a question, obviously, he knows where to find us. I'm disappointed they have not attended any of the public meetings and they have not made any public comment."

Promote Andrews tells NewsWest 9, the bottom line is that they want people in Andrews to be educated about the waste rolling into their community.