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Fri Feb 19, 2016, 02:05 PM

 

Bernie's fatal sin

He sponsored legislation that would have allowed radioactive waste to be deposited in a facility near a small town in Texas. As is the case with most towns, the residents didn't want radioactive waste sent to their area. I saw a documentary on the subject a couple years ago. As I recall, the 500 or so people there are entirely Latino, and they're all poor, and most speak only Spanish. The political powers in Texas made sure the facility was approved over local objections.

I don't remember how the federal government was involved, but a nuclear waste repository would require federal approval, if only at the administrative level. I don't know why Congress had to get involved, since the agreement was between the states of Texas, Maine and Vermont. The deal fell through because it was a typical case of environmental racism, the practice of placing unpleasant or unsafe facilities in places where the residents are poor and largely minorities without much political power.

Anyway, this evidently proves Sanders is a hypocrite, unfit to be president. It is inconsistent with his stated positions on the environment and economic justice. It's also about the only example of such hypocrisy his opponents have been able to find. And you can bet they're looking. Well, good luck. If this is all you have, it's pretty feeble. Even with the assistance of the Clinton-friendly Politifact, it's not going far.

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Bernie's fatal sin (Original post)
HassleCat Feb 2016 OP
merrily Feb 2016 #1
Dr. Strange Feb 2016 #3
Gregorian Feb 2016 #6
jberryhill Feb 2016 #5
ebayfool Feb 2016 #8
ebayfool Feb 2016 #10
jillan Feb 2016 #20
libtodeath Feb 2016 #2
Katashi_itto Feb 2016 #4
djean111 Feb 2016 #7
merrily Feb 2016 #14
beam me up scottie Feb 2016 #9
ebayfool Feb 2016 #11
beam me up scottie Feb 2016 #12
Motown_Johnny Feb 2016 #13
merrily Feb 2016 #15
Fumesucker Feb 2016 #16
Live and Learn Feb 2016 #17
fun n serious Feb 2016 #18
HassleCat Feb 2016 #22
jillan Feb 2016 #19
SoLeftIAmRight Feb 2016 #21

Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 02:08 PM

1. Do we have any context for the vote, other than what is in your post? Because Bernie's votes have

been taken totally out of context.

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Response to merrily (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 02:28 PM

3. Here's the bill:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/105/hr629

Sponsor was Joe Barton.

Bernie was an eventual cosponsor (as was Sheila Jackson Lee). The bill was signed by President Clinton.

So, you know, pretty evil stuff all around.

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Response to Dr. Strange (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 02:37 PM

6. The nay votes in the Senate speak volumes

Akaka, Daniel HI
Nay D Boxer, Barbara CA
Nay D Bryan, Richard NV
Nay D Durbin, Richard IL
Nay D Feingold, Russell WI
Nay D Harkin, Tom IA
Nay D Kennedy, Ted MA
Nay D Kerry, John MA
Nay D Lautenberg, Frank NJ
Nay D Moseley Braun, Carol IL
Nay D Reed, John RI
Nay D Reid, Harry NV
Nay D Torricelli, Robert NJ
Nay D Wellstone, Paul MN
Nay D Wyden, Ron OR

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Response to merrily (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 02:35 PM

5. Yeah, this was back when states were given a deadline to form multi-state compacts on radwaste


Needless to say, the context is a wee bit more complex than stated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-level_radioactive_waste_policy_of_the_United_States

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Response to merrily (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 03:12 PM

8. Yup. Context matters.

http://www.c-span.org/congress/bills/billAction/?print/1410681
Bernie Sanders, I-VT 1st

Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 629. Mr. Chairman, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act and its 1985 amendments make commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal a State and not a Federal responsibility.

As we have heard, all that Texas and Maine and Vermont are asking for today is to be treated as 9 other compacts were treated affecting 41 States. This is not new business. We have done it 9 times, 41 States, and Texas, Maine, and Vermont ask us to do it today.

Mr. Chairman, let me touch for a moment upon the environmental aspects of this issue. Let me address it from the perspective of someone who is an opponent of nuclear power, who opposes the construction of power plants and, if he had his way, would shut down the existing nuclear power plants as quickly and as safely as we could.

One of the reasons that many of us oppose nuclear power plants is that when this technology was developed, there was not a lot of thought given as to how we dispose of the nuclear waste. Neither the industry nor the Government, in my view, did the right thing by allowing the construction of the plants and not figuring out how we get rid of the waste.

But the issue we are debating here today is not that issue. The reality, as others have already pointed out, is that the waste is here. We cannot wish it away. It exists in power plants in Maine and Vermont, it exists in hospitals, it is here.

The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Reyes] a few moments ago said, `Who wants radioactive waste in their district?' I guess he is right. But do Members know what, by going forward with the nuclear power industry, that is what we have. So the real environmental issue here is not to wish it away, but to make the judgment, the important environmental judgment, as to what is the safest way of disposing of the nuclear waste that has been created. That is the environmental challenge that we face.

The strong environmental position should not be and cannot be to do nothing, and to put our heads in the sand and pretend that the problem does not exist. It would be nice if Texas had no low-level radioactive waste, or Vermont or Maine or any other State. That would be great. That is not the reality. The environmental challenge now is, given the reality that low-level radioactive waste exists, what is the safest way of disposing of that waste.

Leaving the radioactive waste at the site where it was produced, despite the fact that that site may be extremely unsafe in terms of long-term isolation of the waste and was never intended to be a long-term depository of low-level waste, is horrendous environmental policy. What sense is it to say that you have to keep the waste where it is now, even though that might be very environmentally damaging? That does not make any sense at all.

No reputable scientist or environmentalist believes that the geology of Vermont or Maine would be a good place for this waste. In the humid climate of Vermont and Maine, it is more likely that groundwater will come in contact with that waste and carry off radioactive elements to the accessible environment.

There is widespread scientific evidence to suggest, on the other hand, that locations in Texas, some of which receive less than 12 inches of rainfall a year, a region where the groundwater table is more than 700 feet below the surface, is a far better location for this waste.

This is not a political assertion, it is a geological and environmental reality. Furthermore, even if this compact is not approved, it is likely that Texas, which has a great deal of low-level radioactive waste, and we should make the point that 80 percent of the waste is coming from Texas, 10 percent from Vermont, 10 percent from Maine, the reality is that Texas will go forward with or without this compact in building a facility to dispose of their low-level radioactive waste.

If they do not have the compact, which gives them the legal right to deny low-level radioactive waste from coming from anyplace else in the country, it seems to me they will be in worse environmental shape than they are right now. Right now, with the compact, they can deal with the constitutional issue of limiting the kinds of waste they get.

From an environmental point of view, I urge strong support for this legislation.

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Response to ebayfool (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 03:22 PM

10. Adding ...


http://www.c-span.org/congress/bills/billAction/?print/1410681

There have also been concerns expressed about the facts that this has been located in a dominant Hispanic area. That is a true statement. The population of Hudspeth County is 66 percent Hispanic. I would point out that of the 10 sites that were considered, there were a number of them that had a higher ethnicity of Hispanic population. The three variables that were used, though, were not ethnicity. They were rainfall, this has the lowest rainfall; population density, this is right at one-half of a person per square mile, which is the second lowest density, and there are a total of less than 3,000 people in the county. So this has the lowest rainfall, one of the lowest population densities, and there have been no earthquakes in recorded history in this site.

There is support for this on this site in Texas. I include for the Record a letter from the county judge.

Hudspeth County Courthouse,

Sierra Blanca, TX, July 23, 1996.

Dear Member of Congress: We are writing to encourage you to vote in favor of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact, H.R. 558 without amendment.

As officials from the community nearest to the proposed facility, our primary duty is to protect the health and safety of our citizens and of future generations. In fulfillment of this duty, we have invested substantial time and effort in examining technical reports and talking with state officials and others involved in identifying and investigating a location for a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in our county.

We are convinced that the facility planned for the site is safe. This judgment is borne out by the `Environmental Safety Analysis' made by the state agency in charge of licensing the disposal facility in our state. That agency found that the site will not `pose an unacceptable risk to the public health' or cause `a long-term detrimental impact on the environment.'

Far from causing problems for our community, the disposal facility will bring to our area needed economic and social benefits. Hudspeth County has already received grants of over $2 million for the State of Texas for use in community projects of our own choosing. When Congress consents to the Texas Compact, the county will receive an additional $5 million in development funds from the states of Vermont and Maine. And, when the facility begins operation, the county will receive $.8 million annually from its gross revenue--equal to more than one-third of the county's total annual budget. These funds are very much needed in our effort to raise the standard of living, education, and medical care system for residents of our county.

Fundamentally, where and how to site a commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility is a state and local issue. In July of this year, the State of Texas will convene a series of public hearings, several in our community, which will allow any member of the public to comment and raise questions about any aspect of the proposed facility and its location. This is where the decision on the location and safety of the disposal facility should be made--not in the halls of Congress thousands of miles away from our community.

We have heard that some members of Congress, at the urging of certain advocacy groups who do not represent our community, object to the location of the disposal facility based on the ethnic composition and the economic status of our county. We are the direct representatives of this ethnically diverse and economically underdeveloped community, and we are convinced that the facility will be safely built. In addition, in December 1995, approximately half of the adult population of Sierra Blanca signed a petition supporting Congressional consent for the Texas Compact.

By consenting to the Texas Compact, Congress will: eliminate the need for two low-level radioactive waste disposal sites in more populous, more humid northeast states; alleviate the need to store low-level radioactive waste of hundreds of generating locations in the three member states; approve a facility that the most directly affected citizens find both safe and beneficial; and ensure that the State of Texas and its partners in the Texas Compact will be able to control the amount of waste coming into a facility located in our community.

Please vote for S. 419 without amendment.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like more information.

Sincerely,

James A. Peace,

County Judge.

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Response to ebayfool (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 20, 2016, 12:18 AM

20. And signed into law by Bill CLINTON.

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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 02:14 PM

2. This again?

Guess we know what the memo of the day was from Hillary.

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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 02:30 PM

4. The one that Clinton signed into law?

 

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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 03:01 PM

7. This bill does not erase, for me, Hillary's support for war and fracking and cluster bombs and

 

the TPP and increased H-1B visas. Among many other things.

You know what CMSU - when Hillary's supporters accuse Bernie's supporters of being "single issue" supporters - and then get all pissy when we certainly are not.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 11:18 PM

14. Replies 8 and 10 of ebayfool provide a context for Sanders' vote.

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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 03:18 PM

9. There was support from the community, here's a letter from the county judge:

Sierra Blanca, TX, July 23, 1996.

Dear Member of Congress: We are writing to encourage you to vote in favor of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact, H.R. 558 without amendment.

As officials from the community nearest to the proposed facility, our primary duty is to protect the health and safety of our citizens and of future generations. In fulfillment of this duty, we have invested substantial time and effort in examining technical reports and talking with state officials and others involved in identifying and investigating a location for a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in our county.

We are convinced that the facility planned for the site is safe. This judgment is borne out by the `Environmental Safety Analysis' made by the state agency in charge of licensing the disposal facility in our state. That agency found that the site will not `pose an unacceptable risk to the public health' or cause `a long-term detrimental impact on the environment.'

Far from causing problems for our community, the disposal facility will bring to our area needed economic and social benefits. Hudspeth County has already received grants of over $2 million for the State of Texas for use in community projects of our own choosing. When Congress consents to the Texas Compact, the county will receive an additional $5 million in development funds from the states of Vermont and Maine. And, when the facility begins operation, the county will receive $.8 million annually from its gross revenue--equal to more than one-third of the county's total annual budget. These funds are very much needed in our effort to raise the standard of living, education, and medical care system for residents of our county.

Fundamentally, where and how to site a commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility is a state and local issue. In July of this year, the State of Texas will convene a series of public hearings, several in our community, which will allow any member of the public to comment and raise questions about any aspect of the proposed facility and its location. This is where the decision on the location and safety of the disposal facility should be made--not in the halls of Congress thousands of miles away from our community.

We have heard that some members of Congress, at the urging of certain advocacy groups who do not represent our community, object to the location of the disposal facility based on the ethnic composition and the economic status of our county. We are the direct representatives of this ethnically diverse and economically underdeveloped community, and we are convinced that the facility will be safely built. In addition, in December 1995, approximately half of the adult population of Sierra Blanca signed a petition supporting Congressional consent for the Texas Compact.

By consenting to the Texas Compact, Congress will: eliminate the need for two low-level radioactive waste disposal sites in more populous, more humid northeast states; alleviate the need to store low-level radioactive waste of hundreds of generating locations in the three member states; approve a facility that the most directly affected citizens find both safe and beneficial; and ensure that the State of Texas and its partners in the Texas Compact will be able to control the amount of waste coming into a facility located in our community.

Please vote for S. 419 without amendment.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like more information.

Sincerely,

James A. Peace,

County Judge.

http://www.c-span.org/congress/bills/billAction/?print/1410681

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 03:23 PM

11. Aye, Scottie!

Posting in unison!

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Response to ebayfool (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 03:24 PM

12. Indeed, gmta!


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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 03:28 PM

13. Then take it up with the state of Texas.

 

Also, what would you have done with that waste? If you can't answer that then you have no credibility on this issue.


http://www.texastribune.org/2015/02/09/west-texas-site-wants-nations-spent-nuclear-fuel/

^snip^


West Texas Site Wants Nation's Spent Nuclear Fuel


Texas’ only radioactive waste dump wants to open its gates to tens of thousands of metric tons of spent nuclear reactor fuel now scattered across the country – a large expansion it is pitching as a temporary solution for a problem that has bedeviled federal policymakers for decades.

Waste Control Specialists is seeking federal approval to temporarily store highly radioactive waste at its complex in Andrews County, northwest of Midland. In a letter sent Friday to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the company, formerly owned by the late Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, said it plans to file a federal license application in early 2016.

“Our nation needs a safe, centralized interim storage solution,” company President Rod Baltzer told reporters Monday. “We believe Andrews County and WCS offers that safe storage solution.”

The sprawling facility is one of few in the country that accepts low-level nuclear waste, and it has been growing. Since 2012, the company has used less than 10 percent of its 1,400-acre site to store contaminated tools, building materials and protective clothing, among other items, from shuttered reactors and hospitals. And last year, it took in 420 truckloads of transuranic waste from the federal government’s nuclear weapons program.



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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 11:19 PM

15. The info on this thread is a great example of why I am proud of DUers.

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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 11:24 PM

16. Thanks for bringing this up so it could be thoroughly debunked for the umpteenth time

There are those of us with poor memories who cannot recall things that were discussed weeks ago, their memories require constant refreshing.

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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 11:40 PM

17. Bernie was correct in his assessment of the problem and the solution.

What would you have supported be done with the waste? Feed it to the unicorns?

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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2016, 12:08 AM

18. Bernie can do no wrong and his excuses are all valid. nt

 

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Response to fun n serious (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 20, 2016, 03:34 AM

22. He did do wrong on this one.

 

And there is no excuse. But this is it. It's pretty much the only thing he's done that is directly against the principles he promotes. He is a very unusual politician in this regard, to not compromise his principles to get a big donation.

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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2016, 12:16 AM

19. Lol - the talking point of the day. Some woman called into Thom Hartmann rambling about this.

Thom was asking her questions and she was almost incoherent.

What is the background on this story? What was going on at the time?
It's like pulling something out of thin air without all the facts.

And it doesn't let Hillary off the hook for her support of fracking and her support of Monsanto, if that is what the goal is of this artful kitchen sink.

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Response to HassleCat (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2016, 12:32 AM

21. I see no good solutions to this problem.

 

What do you think would be a good solution?

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