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Subject: Monahans News article 6-15-00

{Note: Exerpts from page 1 &  cont. p. 7A of The Monahans News on 6-16-2000.  Did not add the rest of the article that does not pertain to issue of the waste dump.  I'll add that if you want it.}
                                              
County Asks State For Waste Site Vote
                                  by Johnie Kemp
                                              
    County Commissioners are unanimously requesting the state legislature for a binding referendum 'as conditions for the establishment of any radioactive disposal or storage site localed in Ward County.'
    The resolution passed at Monday's court states "the people of Ward County deserve to have control of the safety of their environment and to have input into the future types of industry allowed by the State of Texas to establish in Ward County."
    It further states, "the licensing by the State of Texas of a radioactive storage or disposal facility in Ward County is of great concern to the people of Ward County.  The present citizens of Ward County, along iwth the future generations of Ward County citizens, must live near and personally experience any benefits or detriments of a radioactive storage or disposal facility in Ward County.
   The resolution concludes, "Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Ward County Commissioners Court support the inclusion of wording in any permitting or licensing that would allow a binding referedum as conditions for the establishment of any radioactive
disposal or storage site located in Ward County."
    "This would give a binding vote to Ward County," said Commissioner Rick McCurdy.
    Reports in an area paper Tuesday quoted County Judge Sam Massey as saying  he was 'tired of the controversy the dump issue has produced and he opposes locating a dump in Ward County.'.....
(Page 7 A:) 
    During the public input session of the meeting, several Ward County citizens expressed concerns over the county'sconsideration of asking for a Criminal District Attorney's office.
    Gladys Morgan expressed concerns that such an office would 'take away my right to elect whom I choose and asked if the court was considering such a move because of 'vindictiveness.'
    County Judge Sam Massey said he was 'mad as hell' at District Attorney Randy Reynolds over a letter of censure he had written following his investigations into alleged violations of the open Meetings Act.  Massey said Reynolds had done some 'mean' things but he was not after his job.
    "We were approached to look into this, but this is not going to be a 'snap' decision," said Commissioner McCurdy.
    Morgan said she had heard that Attorney Hal Upchurch would be appointed to the position and expressed her objections.
    Commissioner Kathy Fausett said she did not know where that was coming from and the position would be an elected one.
    Donita Barber questioned Massey about the reason for the 'censure' by the D.A.'s office and Judge Massey explained it was ver a letter he had written personally to Envirocare which was later perceived to have come from the entire court. Barber asked if the letter had been published and was assured that the letter had published many times.
    "I am proud of that letter," said Massey.  "Envirocare gave us some promises.  We're getting some different figures - the 150 jobs is down to 30 jobs."
   Clarese Gough thanked the court for adopting the resolution to ask for a vote concerning the Envirocare issue.
   Laura Burnett, president of the Friends of Ward County group which actively opposes the location of a radioactive waste site in the county, asked Commissioner Fausett to invite Senator Warren Chisholm to address the issues locallly.
  "We passed the reoslution," said Fausett.
  "Can't we invite him anyway regardless of the resolution?" questioned Burnett.
  "You're welcome as an individual to invite him," answered Fausett.



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Envirocare says site would withstand wildfires

By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer
PECOS, May 12, 2000 -- With brushfires burning around the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory and around Ruidoso-Cloudcroft in
New Mexico, as well as in the Glass Mountains near Marathon in Brewster County, concerns have been raised about if a
similar blaze were to break out sometime in the future near the proposed low-level nuclear waste site Envirocare of Texas
hopes to build in Ward County.

But Gene Brown, Envirocare's West Texas Director of Community Relations, said any wildfire that would hit the Barstow area
would not affect the concrete lined bunkers the company hopes to store the waste in.

"To be honest with you, if there's a brushfire, I'd rather be inside the bunker than outside," said Brown from the company's
Monahans office this morning.

The Los Alamos fires have burned trailers and portable buildings at the weapons site, but have rolled past concrete bunkers
containing explosives without affecting them, while coming within 300 yards of a plutonium storage facility.

Lab officials have said that the dangerous materials inside were protected in fire-resistant facilities strong enough to withstand
the crash of a 747.

Envirocare is still awaiting word from the Texas Department of Health on its proposed storage site, which would be located
eight miles north of Barstow and 14 miles northeast of Pecos. The company plans to store radioactive waste in the aboveground
bunkers at the site, which was chosen because it does not sit above an underground aquifer.

"Basically, the building would have 9½-inch thick concrete walls," Brown said. "It would have concrete walls, a concrete floor
and a concrete roof."

"I guess eventually a fire could generate enough heat, but a brushfire like that wouldn't," he said. "It would have to be hot
enough to melt concrete and melt the carbon steel drums" that will hold the radioactive waste, he added.

The waste site offices would be in other buildings that, like the Los Alamos buildings, would be vulnerable to fire, but Brown
said, "Inside the storage facility itself, I can't imagine anything being flammable at all."

Envirocare began seeking land in Ward County for the site last year, after sites proposed by it and Waste Control Specialists in
western Andrews County were rejected after a University of Texas study showed underground water in the area. Envirocare
selected the Barstow area site last fall, and opened its office in Monahans in late April.

Brown, who is a minister at churches in Monahans and Kermit, said "I've tried to get out of the office over there (to Pecos), but
every time I end up with people over here seeking job applications."

Although Envirocare has focused its efforts on Monahans in seeking local support for the site, the facility would actually be far
closer to Pecos and Barstow than it would to Monahans, 32 miles to the east. Because of that, officials in Pecos and Reeves
County are supporting a measure to prevent Ward County residents alone from deciding whether or not to approve locating the facility in the area.
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