Texans for Public Justice: Billionaire Nuke Dump Owner's Contributions to Gov. Perry Top $1 Million as Regulators Rush to Approve Expansion Rules

Dec 20, 2010, 11:12 ET from Texans for Public Justice

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 20, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by Texans for Public Justice:

Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons has contributed $1,120,000  to Texas Governor Rick Perry - $500,000 in the past four months – as his political appointees are considering a rule to open the West Texas nuclear waste dump Simmons operates to radioactive shipments from nearly every state in the nation.

Not wanting to touch nuclear waste itself, Congress ordered states to form multi-state compacts to tackle the gunk themselves. Texas formed a 1993 compact with teeny-weeny Vermont to dump radioactive waste from both states in Texas.  Simmons' Waste Control Specialists holds an exclusive license to dump the compact's junk in West Texas. Simmons is now seeking to change the terms of the deal to open his dump to the rest of the nation.  The Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission oversees this dirty business, with two Vermont-appointed commissioners and six Perry appointees.

The appointees of Vermont's lame-duck governor have been in Simmons' camp, as have four of the six Perry appointees. Yet Vermont Governor-Elect Peter Shumlin says he opposes Texas importing nuclear waste from states other than his own. Shumlin wants to shutter the leaky Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. If Texas opens its nuclear borders, he fears that Waste Control's dump could fill up before Vermont ships all its radioactive liabilities to Texas. Shumlin and others fear that regulators will grant Simmons a permit before Vermont's new governor takes office on January 6 and appoints two new commissioners.

Meanwhile, Simmons has been on a national shopping spree for radioactive waste to import to Texas. Over the past five years political committees and executives affiliated with his two main holding companies doled out $379,900 to state politicians in 21 states other than Texas, according to the Montana-based National Institute on Money in State Politics. During the same period, Simmons-related contributors gave $4.9 million to Texas state candidates and PACs. Governor Perry accounted for 20 percent of that haul.

The radioactive waste to be dumped near West Texas aquifers will be hot for tens of thousands of years.  Waste Control's license extends a mere 15 years. Thereafter that gullible sap—the Texas taxpayer—will be left holding the bag.

For full release: www.tpj.org

SOURCE Texans for Public Justice