By Sylvia Gonzalez
BIG SPRING - Howard County Commissioners stopped short of saying they want to bring an underground nuclear storage facility to the area. In a meeting on Monday morning, Commissioners said they were open to learning more about the idea but only on their terms.
Former City Councilman Troy Tompkins made a presentation to Howard County Commissioners about the possibility of bringing an underground nuclear storage facility to Howard County. He says it's not an idea that should be ruled out right away.
County Judge Mark Barr feels everything should be looked into before shutting the idea down of a possible nuclear storage facility.
"I don't want to slam the door on anything that might help Howard County in the future but there is no way that we have enough information to make a decision," Barr said.
Judge Mark Barr has concerns about bringing a nuclear storage facility to Howard County.
Former City Councilman Troy Tompkins wanted the county to sign a non-binding letter simply agreeing to pursue more information about the possible site but the County didn't bite.
"If they got serious about it, there's one thing about the county saying 'yea, we want to talk about it,' but how serious are the developers wanting to talk about it, how serious are they, where are they in this time process," Barr said.
Judge Barr thinks the developers should approach the County about the idea but Tompkins thinks Howard County Commissioners should be the ones to make the first move, if they're interested in learning more about a nuclear storage facility.
"This is a consent based process which means it's up to host communities to approach the state, to approach the Federal Government to seek to be considered," Tompkins said.
Three other states including New Mexico have expressed interest in hosting an interim or permanent nuclear waste storage site, an investment of $154 million.
According to Barr, he feels the county should not be the only party committing to express interest. Tompkins feels it would be in the interest of everyone to get more information on the possible nuclear site.
"It would be advantageous for the residents to make an informed decision. The only way you can make an informed decision is to seek more information and that's where we are at now is seeking more information," Tompkins said.
The non-binding letter of engagement is to keep the door open for more talks between AFCI and Howard County. Judge Barr says in two weeks they will decide whether they will sign the letter.