CORRECTION TO MEDIA STORIES
Due to some newspaper stories erroneously reporting that
F.A.C.T.S. (For A Clean Tonawanda Site), Inc. (F.A.C.T.S.) was asking that more
studies be done concerning the removal of the radioactive waste from the
Tonawanda Site, F.A.C.T.S. would like to clarify its position relative to the
cleanup at the Tonawanda Site.
- F.A.C.T.S. never said that we wanted more studies done.
- F.A.C.T.S.' main contentions are that the U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC) has jurisdiction (under the Atomic Energy Act)
over, and expertise with respect to, the radioactive material at the FUSRAP
Tonawanda Site. NRC standards for the cleanup of radioactive wastes are much
more protective of human health and the environment than the standards that
have been identified as applicable, first by the Department of Energy (DOE),
and then by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The failure of DOE and
the Corps to consider these standards or seek comment from the NRC is a
violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA also allows a
stakeholder to go to federal court to enforce its provisions.
- After ten years of representing to the public that the
selection of the remedial actions at the FUSRAP Tonawanda Site would be subject
to environmental review under NEPA, DOE and the Corps decided to perform the
cleanup exclusively under the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) which contains a provision that
prohibits the federal courts from hearing a challenge to a selected cleanup
until after the cleanup is complete. F.A.C.T.S. believes that the Corps and the
DOE made this decision in order to avoid the public review and comment
procedures, and NRC involvement, required by NEPA.
- We note that both F.A.C.T.S. and CANiT have the same goal in
mind. [See "Beating Off CANiT" ALT/Buffalo Alternative
Press August 10, 1998.] However, the divergence of opinions comes into play
when F.A.C.T.S. has requested that the site be cleaned to unrestricted use, not
just to restricted use (for industrial use). By not cleaning to the lower
permissible level, there could be problems further along. Long-term exposure by
workers to the low-level radiation left behind could lead to the same medical
problems that are prevalent among past and present day workers at
Linde/Praxair. The possible damage will probably not show for 20 to 30 years.
And what of gene damage to young workers of child-bearing age due to this
exposure? Then what, come back and revisit the site and do the job right?