Last update:
2016-10-27

Disposal of low-level nuclear waste at Texas site, USA


Description:

Sierra Blanca is a small town in Hudspeth County about 90 miles southeast of El Paso, TX and only 16 miles north of the Mexico border.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Disposal of low-level nuclear waste at Texas site, USA
Country:translation missing: en.countries.united_states_of_america
State or province:Texas
Location of conflict:Sierra Blanca
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Nuclear waste storage
Specific commodities:Uranium
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The site the TLLRWDA selected is a 16,000 acre ranch the state bought from private owners located just outside of Sierra Blanca[1].

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Project area:6,474
Level of Investment:50,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:550- 3476 (2010 Demographic Profile U.S. Census Bureau)
Start of the conflict:1996
End of the conflict:1998
Company names or state enterprises:Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (TLLRWDCC) from United States of America - Keep public records, manage storage and ensure law-abiding procedures
Merco Joint Venture, LLC from United States of America - Contracted for disposal
Relevant government actors:George Bush, Governor of Texas, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ, formerly Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission), United States government, Texas state officials, Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority (TLLRWDA), government of Mexico,
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund, The Citizens’ Awareness Center and the Nuclear Information and Resource Center, Sierra Club, Greenpeace Mexico, Border Environmental Network, League of United Latin American Cities
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:Waste Control Specialists proposed a disposal site in Andrews County, Texas as a less controversial alternative to Sierra Blanca.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:While the campaign successfully diverted the nuclear waste project, Texas continues to seek a disposal site and Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund has committed to fighting any site chosen in favor of more environmentally sound options.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Health and Safety Code Chapter 403 Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact
[click to view]

Public Law 99.240 Jan 1986 Low Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985
[click to view]

La Paz Agreement of 1983 between Mexico and the United States on Cooperation for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment in the Border Area
[click to view]

Public Law 105.236 Sept 1998 Compact Consent Act [4]
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Environmental Justice Case Study: The Struggle for Sierra Blanca, Texas Against A Low-Level Nuclear Waste Site [1]
[click to view]

EPA What is Border 2012: La Paz Agreement 1983 [3]
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

For Some, Texas Town Is Too Popular as Waste Disposal Site- New York Times Sept 2 1998
[click to view]

Mexico on Nuclear Dump: Not on Our Border- Christian Science Monitor June 18 1998
[click to view]

Nuclear Waste is Good For You, Texas Observer by Richard Boren January 1998
[click to view]

Texans defend Sierra Blanca community against nuclear waste disposal, 1996-1998
[click to view]

Texas dump might get other states' radioactive waste- Statesman.com May 2010. Regarding siting of low level radioactive nuclear waste dump in Andrews County, the alternative site proposed in 1998.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Arrival of the march in Sierra Blanca, TX August 1998
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Bernadette Grafton and Paul Mohai, [email protected] and [email protected], University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment
Last update27/10/2016
Comments
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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