Judge Orders Hearing on Texas Nuke Waste Dump

Staff Report
The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A judge has ruled the state's environmental agency should have held a hearing about potential harm to residents prior to licensing a West Texas radioactive waste dump.

The dump began receiving low-level nuclear waste last month near the New Mexico state line. It is controlled by a company whose majority owner is top Republican contributor Harold Simmons.

State district Judge Lora Livingston ruled Tuesday that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality should have granted a hearing before licensing the dump. The proceeding would have allowed two residents to raise concerns about possible contamination to air and water in the area.

She ordered a hearing be held. But the dump's owner, Waste Control Specialists LLC, said the decision won't affect operations at the dump site while the state of Texas appeals.