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Huntsman, Hatch: Utahns can deliver final nail to PFS

News Release
February 7, 2006

Salt Lake City - Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., and Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) announced today that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has formally re-opened public comment on whether BLM should authorize Private Fuel Storage (PFS) to transport 44,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel across public lands en route to a proposed storage site in Skull Valley, Utah. As of today, citizens can begin sending their comments to the BLM expressing their views on this aspect of the PFS plan.

The viability of that plan rests on the BLM's approval of either (1) a rail spur across 32 miles of BLM land to Skull Valley, or (2) an intermodal transfer facility - to be built on 21 acres of BLM land - designed to transfer spent nuclear fuel from rail cars to trucks, which would then transport the waste to the site using existing roads.

"Utahns have repeatedly expressed concerns about the dangers of transporting and storing high-level nuclear waste in Skull Valley," Governor Huntsman said Tuesday.

"Off-loading high-level nuclear waste on a railsiding adjacent to Interstate 80 - the principal east-west transportation corridor in the West - makes absolutely no sense," Governor Huntsman emphasized. "The citizens and businesses that depend on this highway must speak out in opposition to the PFS proposals."

"We urge everyone in Utah to contact the BLM and make the case why transporting waste to this site is not in the public's interest," Senator Hatch said. "Every viable transportation option for PFS requires the Administration's approval, and the BLM is making it very clear that its decision will be based on whether these options are in the public's interest. The BLM has put this decision in the hands of Utahns and other concerned citizens, and it's crucial that we make our voices heard."

The Notice of Public Comment is available at: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/E6-1595.htm. The comment period closes on May 8, 2006. Comments to the BLM should be sent to the following address:

Pam Shuller Bureau of Land Management Salt Lake Field Office 2370 South 2300 West Salt Lake City, UT 84119

More information about the Public Comment Period, including brief a summary of the possible implications of the PFS plan, can be found at http://www.deq.utah.gov/no_high_level_waste/index.htm, and at http://hatch.senate.gov.

The BLM's announcement to re-open the comment period fulfills a promise made by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in a letter to Senator Hatch dated December 9, 2005, responding to the Senator's request that she carefully review the safety and financial viability of the PFS plan.

Downloadable text: Bureau of Land Management Federal Regulation (Adobe PDF Document)

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