Appeals court to decide nuclear waste case

Jan. 16, 2010 at 1:24 AM
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DENVER, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court held arguments this week on whether Utah can ban foreign nuclear waste from a disposal site in the state.

Mike Lee, representing EnergySolutions, asked the court in Denver to uphold a District Court ruling that the interstate commerce clause means Utah has no authority to determine what waste can be dumped at the site in Toole County, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Kristin Brewer, a lawyer for the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Waste, said at Thursday's hearing Congress created the interstate compacts to allow states more control over what is allowed within their borders.

"The bottom line is that the Compact is the only way the states have control over their own destinies," she said.

Two years ago, EnergySolutions applied for a Nuclear Regulatory Commission permit to bring in 20,000 tons of waste from Italy. The NRC has postponed action until the legal dispute works its way through the courts.

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