[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Yucca Mt. Press Release

Enviro-Mich message from AliceH777@aol.com

Press Release 6.17.02

Contacts:       Alice Hirt (616) 335-3405, aliceh777@aol.com
                Michael Keegan (734) 735-6373, mkeegan@foxberry.net
                Kym Spring (616) 742- 4084, grandrapids@cleanwater.org

Michigan Environmental Community Speaks With One Voice
No to the Yucca Mountain plan!  Senators Take Heed
Yucca Mountain Resolution is the Illusion of a Solution

Lansing, MI -- Standing in the heart of the Great Lakes basin, the
environmental community spoke with one united voice in opposition to Yucca
Mountain as a high-level nuclear waste repository. 

Representatives of environmental and citizens organizations expressed their
serious concerns about the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Yucca Mountain plan in
front of the Capitol.  Representing well over 250,000 Michigan voters, press
conference speakers implored all concerned citizens to call Senators Levin and
Stabenow and urge them to oppose DOE’s plan.  Groups opposing Yucca Mountain
have been working for months to convince Levin and Stabenow to reverse their

In May, the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) established a strong policy
position opposing Yucca Mountain.  According to MEC policy, "The federal
government has not demonstrated that the Yucca Mountain facility is a legal 
safe place for the long-term storage and care of high-level radioactive waste,
and thus, we oppose its designation as the federal repository of high-level
radioactive waste."  

Earlier this month, Great Lakes United (GLU) announced a resolution opposing
Yucca Mountain; it passed at the Great Lakes United 20th Anniversary meeting
with unanimous approval. Great Lakes United consists of over one hundred sixty
environmental and labor organizations in the basin.

The proposed Yucca Mountain repository is not based on sound science.  In the
past eight months, three important governmental agencies, the General
Accounting Office, the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste, and the Nuclear
Waste Technical Review Board, have all issued revealing reports questioning 
suitability of the site and the rush to get Yucca Mountain approved. Yucca
Mountain's geology is so unsuitable that the DOE is now depending almost
entirely (99.7%) on engineered containers, not Yucca Mountain’s geology, to
contain the waste.  In Science Magazine’s April 26, 2002 issue, a very 
article on the suitability of Yucca Mountain was published.

Press conference speakers echoed the concerns of these scientists and
government agencies.

"Science has clearly been subverted by the politics of Yucca Mountain.  Yucca
Mountain is geologically unsuitable for the storage of high-level nuclear
waste.  Private corporate interest must not run roughshod over the health and
well being of citizens of this Nation," stated Mary Sinclair, Co-chair of 
Waste Michigan.   Sinclair, who holds a doctorate in Natural Resources further
emphasized,  "This current administration has rolled back and gutted
environmental regulation.  EPA standards have been rewritten to accommodate
Yucca Mountain.  The Atom has subverted Science."  

The DOE's Final Environmental Impact Statement for Yucca Mountain calls for no
less than 453 barge shipments of high-level nuclear waste on Lake Michigan
itself.  A projected 125 of these shipments would be barged from the Palisades
Nuclear Power Plant at South Haven north to the Port of Muskegon.  Approval of
the Yucca Mountain site would result in the roads, rails and waterways of
Michigan being transport paths for more than a thousand shipments of nuclear
waste.  The total number of projected shipments nationally is more than

The Yucca Mountain proposal does not reduce the risk to the Great Lakes. The
reactors will continue to operate.  The "spent fuel" pools and dry cask 
will still exist at the reactors.  The Yucca Mountain proposal adds the risk 
transporting high-level nuclear waste through countless communities and
population centers and along our shorelines.

"Scrutinize the numbers," insisted Michael Keegan, Co-chair, Don't Waste
Michigan.  "Yucca Mountain will cost an estimated $58 billion -- subject to
inflation.  Ratepayer revenue generation is fixed at $25 billion.   A 
of at least $33 billion will become a taxpayer burden.  By the year 2025, only
8% of high-level nuclear waste generated in Michigan will have left our 
Meanwhile, the current amount of high-level nuclear waste will have more than
doubled." Keegan said.

Kym Spring with Clean Water Action said it is time to take action.  “Our
Senators need to change their minds and vote the right way.  Everyone should
call 1-888-554-9256 today.  The Senate has to vote on this before July 26th, 
the Governor of Nevada’s veto will stand.  This plan is unacceptable and our
Senators should represent our concerns, not those of the power companies,“
stated Spring.  

Other speakers highlighted how the DOE and Secretary Abraham have fast-tracked
this plan and have been misleading the public.

Secretary Abraham has presented the figure spent on Yucca Mountain thus far at
$4 billion.  Congressman John Dingell openly expressed distrust of that dollar
figure, suggesting it was closer to $12 billion (March 2002, House Hearings). 

"Shame on Spencer Abraham for low-balling costs and number of shipments.  He 
running a systematic disinformation campaign to keep the American public in 
dark.  All current risks would continue to exist and would be compounded by
transportation risks, including setting up a Mobile Chernobyl shooting gallery
for terrorists,” stressed Terry Miller of Lone Tree Council.

The Environmental Community of Michigan is clearly opposed to further
development of the Yucca Mountain plan.  “We call on the Senators from 
to heed our call and navigate this Nation out of the Yucca Mountain quagmire 
voting a resounding “NO” to this failed Yucca Mountain plan,” remarked Kym
Spring, after the press conference.

Other speakers at the press conference included:
Sara Bernstein, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Dave Dempsey, Michigan Environmental Council
Alice Hirt, Great Lakes United
Jeff Irwin, League of Conservation Voters
Tom Leonard, West Michigan Environmental Action Council
Jean Prokopow, Metro Detroit Women’s Action for New Directions

Other organizations who supported press conference efforts:
American Indian Health & Family Services
Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes  
Great Lakes Energy Alliance
Lansing Peace Education Center  
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Sierra Club

=============================================================ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"