Colorado rejects N.J. waste
The Daily Record News Group
- State health officials announced on Tuesday that they have rejected
the Cotter Corporation's plan to bring 470,000 tons of radioactive
waste from Maywood, N.J., to its Canon City mill, citing an inadequate
environmental assessment submitted to the department's Laboratory
and Radiation Services program did not fully address key issues
related to the transport of the material," said Doug Benevento,
the acting executive director of the Colorado Department of Public
Health and Environment.
also said Cotter's environmental assessment provided insufficient
information on the socio-economic impacts of the shipment on the
Canon City community.
Enderle, the secretary of the Canon City-based Colorado Citizens
Against ToxicWaste group, said the organization was "elated"
by the news.
think this is a very wise decision for our community," she
said. "We will continue to educate and watch to make sure that
things are done within the law."
earlier this year announced plans to bring 40,000 tons of what health
officials called "mildly contaminated waste" to the Canon
City mill from the Maywood Chemical Co. Superfund site in New Jersey
as part of the eventual shipment of 470,000 tons of the material.
shipments were put on hold, however, when the Colorado Legislature
-- reacting to community opposition to the shipments -- passed House
Bill 1408, which requires a public comment period and an environmental
impact study before radioactive waste can be brought to the state.
a letter sent to Cotter on Monday, CDPHE radiation and laboratory
director David Butcher said, "The environmental assessment
done pursuant to House Bill 1408 is not adequate."
letter said Cotter's environmental assessment "fails to mention
previously identified potential accident types, consequences and
safety requirements" for the transportation of the Maywood
soil. The letter said the assessment lacked "more current accident
type and rate data for the segment between Chicago and Canon City,
in particular for the segments of the transport route through Colorado"
and failed to evaluate "alternatives to rail transit through
Colorado." The assessment, Butcher's letter said, also failed
to evaluate the impact of what it called "potential releases"
from the material and "near-site rail car handling."
said the assessment also suffered from "the lack of social
sciences data assessing the significance or influence - whether
favorable, neutral or negative - on the residents of the community
and on the perceptions of the many tourists who visit the area."
added that the portion of Cotter's application dealing with analyses
of public and occupational health risk and safety information was
"found to be acceptable."
spokeswoman Cindy Parmenter said the Wednesday decision ends the
department's consideration of the Maywood soil issue, but said Cotter
can file a new application in the future if it so desires.
far there is no word on whether or not that will happen. Neither
Cotter President Richard Cherry nor Executive Vice President Rich
Zeigler could be reached for comment after the decision was announced.
Earlier, the two Cotter executives said that receipt of the Maywood
soil was essential to their plans to add zirconium processing to
the mill. Disposal of the soil would provide the cash needed to
retool the mill, they said. It also would provide cover for the
mill's more radioactive tailings, they said.
health department is also currently considering Cotter's application
for renewal of its radiation license and is monitoring the current
suspension of that license that resulted from a series of safety
violations. The CDPHE recently allowed Cotter to begin partial operations
to see if it can abide by safety measures imposed by the state.