Andrews Waste Proposal To Be Heard Again

by Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - Earlier this week NewsWest 9 reported how an Austin judge temporarily halted plans that could allow three dozen states to pour their waste in Andrews County, but the debate is far from over.

The organization's Public Citizen and Texas Civil Liberties Project filed a restraining order against the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Commission to stop the rule from being voted in.

That judge did sign it, but now a hearing has been scheduled for Monday to look at it again. The controversy continues surrounding the Waste Control Specialists facility in Andrews.

After the restraining order was filed to halt the Commission from voting 36 other states into the dump, attorneys from the Attorney General's office came in and made arguments for the proposal before the judge.

"What the judge did was to grant them the opportunity to file a motion of dissolution and have that motion heard on January 3rd," Public Citizen Campaign Coordinator, Trevor Lovell, said.

So come Monday, both sides will make their cases again, and the restraining order will be upheld or dissolved.

If the order is dissolved, the Commission can vote on the proposal in their January 4th meeting.

If not, it'll be tabled until a January 13th hearing where the proposal itself will come into question.

"Whether or not, the Compact Commission may proceed with voting on the rule or if they need to take further action such as re-posting the rule," Lovell said.

Opponents of the proposal say the Commission violated state law by having a defective e-mail address for the public to submit comments, claiming the e-mail bounced them back until the final three days of the 30 day comment period.

What with the vote being between Thanksgiving and Christmas, they're saying West Texans were too rushed by the holidays to get all of their comments through.

"The only proper way to this would be withdraw and have another 30 day comment period, this time don't make any errors," Promote Andrews Director, Tim Gannaway, said.

Since the waste facility was originally intended for just waste from Texas and Vermont, opponents don't like the idea that even more waste could be flooding Andrews.

"Our concern here for Promote Andrews is what's your next step?" Gannaway said. "Are you gonna try and incorporate from other countries? What's next in their quest for a profit here?"

We're told Waste Control Specialists in Andrews said they need those other 36 states to make the facility financially feasible.

NewsWest 9 tried contacting the Commission to get their comment, but no one returned our calls.