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Texas judge halts nuclear waste plan

Dec. 31, 2010 at 1:31 PM

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A Texas judge says he is temporarily halting plans to allow a West Texas radioactive waste disposal site to accept waste from an additional three-dozen states.

Travis County State District Judge Jon Wisser issued a temporary restraining order against the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission, which had scheduled a meeting next week to vote on the matter, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported Thursday.

Environmental groups had argued the meeting, scheduled Tuesday, should be delayed chiefly because of violations in how it was posted. The posting included an incorrect e-mail address for people to send comments on the proposal, environmentalists said.

"It caused dozens of bounce-backs that we know of," said Tom Smith, head of the Austin office of the non-profit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

The groups also argued the final date for receiving public comment, the day after Christmas, was a postal holiday and the deadline should have been the next business day.

Wisser agreed and issued the restraining order, calling for another hearing Jan. 13.

Disposal of the waste could be worth billions of dollars and the vote would benefit a single company, Waste Control Specialists, owned by one of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's chief campaign contributors, the American Statesman said.

The waste commission "has engaged in such unusual, defective rule-making procedures" as "a political favor," the request for the injunction said.

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