Mr. HANSEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I think it is very interesting that we just had an amendment earlier in the day about sludge going into a certain State. It was amazing how many people stood up and were incensed at the idea that they may have sludge go into their State.
I find it interesting the State of Utah right now a lot of people want to put in high-level nuclear waste, and why is that? That is because many of us voted in both Houses to put a permanent place for nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain. However, the President chose to veto this bill, another example of the poor, irresponsible program that they have.
So where do we go now? We do not have a place to put it, because the President, after we spent literally billions of dollars, determined, oh, I am going to veto this. Obviously, for political reasons; but I guess he has a right to do that. So a group of five big polluters called the Private Fuel Storage, who have all of their stuff in the East right now, decided what they would do is they would go to the West.
So they went to a place called the Goshute Indian Reservation, that is Skull Valley. Maybe some of my colleagues think it is a God-forsaken place, but a lot of folks live out there. We have a lot of military issues out in that particular area. And they decided that they could go in there and put a temporary site down.
What is temporary? Four hundred years? I have never seen one of these temporary sites that ever stayed temporary, at least not in my lifetime. Maybe that will happen.
Now in this situation, they decided what they are going to do. Did anyone check out the water source to see if any of these aquifers would fill up? No, not anybody.
What about the idea that the Utah Testing and Training Range, one of the largest testing and training ranges in the world, is right there? I want to point out that 1 mile away from this site a cruise missile crashed not too long ago. Numerous F-16s, F-4s and others have crashed there. It does not seem to bother these people who have gotten these things in the East.
Now as I look at my friends in the East, I find it very interesting that they have never been to our State, but they want to put bills in to tell us how much wilderness we can have. They want to tell us where we can have legacy highways. They want to tell us where we can do various other things, but no one bothers to come out and see it or even care. But now that we have the trash, they want to get rid of their nuclear waste. Let us put it out in Utah; that is a great place to put it. Forget
about these other things. Let us put it there.
Now it just seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that it is about time that the people out there had a say in their own destiny, that they would have the opportunity to say what they want and what they do not want.
I find it interesting that of these five big polluters, this Private Fuel Storage, not one volt from those areas goes into the West. It all goes east of the Mississippi River. So they get the advantage of the wattage, they get the advantage of the volts, and we get the crap that is left over, if I may say that.
So it comes down to the idea, Mr. Chairman, I personally feel that this amendment is worth doing; but my good friend, the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD), has convinced me that maybe I ought to give it some thought, and so I am thinking about it.
Let me say this: the solicitor general of the Department of Interior has made a ruling that says the language we put in the authorization bill last year prohibits any of these things from happening until the Department of Interior and the Department of Defense gives a study to this. So why are they even looking at it? That has not been accomplished. In fact, it has not even been started.
Let me add one other thing. I am asking the IG of the Department of Interior to look into this thing. I think they are taking advantage of some of our Indian friends out there. In my opinion, there are some financial irregularities, and I want a full investigation of it before they move out on this particular area.
So, Mr. Chairman, in my opinion, I would hope that people from the East who love to tell the West how to run our affairs, what we can do, how we can handle our land but they never bother to come out, I wish they were all standing here now saying the beautiful area that we put all these bills in is now going to be inundated with high-level nuclear waste. I do not see them here, but I guess that is their privilege.
Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman from Utah (Mr. HANSEN) yielding.
Mr. Chairman, I do consider him one of my dear friends here, but I have to oppose the amendment and would urge him to withdraw the amendment.
We should not prevent the NRC from licensing nuclear waste disposal sites. It is very difficult to find suitable sites, and in this instance we should certainly not interfere with the established procedures of the NRC. I would hope that the investigation that has been mentioned by the gentleman from Utah (Mr. HANSEN) would shed light on where we should go with this in the future, but let us not kill it tonight.