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Texas Governor Urges Trump to Oppose Nuclear Waste Plans via Courthouse News Service

TRAVIS BUBENIK

(CN) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott has come out against two rival plans to ship highly radioactive waste from the nation’s nuclear power plants to sites on the Texas-New Mexico border, saying either plan would be unsafe and would threaten the region’s sprawling Permian Basin oilfield.

“A stable oil and gas industry is essential to the economy, and crucial to the security of our great nation,” Abbott, a Republican, wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday. “Allowing the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste at sites near the largest producing oilfield in the world will compromise the safety of the region.”

The nuclear waste plans have for years drawn the ire of advocacy groups who worry about a range of possible environmental and safety threats, but oil and gas interests have become increasingly involved in the fight as well.

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In the letter, Abbott suggested that neither of the proposed sites would be a suitable choice for storing the waste.

“The proposed sites in Texas and New Mexico do not provide the deep geologic isolation required for permanent storage in order to minimize the risks of accidents, terrorism, or sabotage, which could disrupt the country’s energy supply with catastrophic effects on the American economy,” he said.

Abbott has previously voiced displeasure at the general idea of bringing more radioactive types of nuclear waste to Texas, though he hadn’t until Wednesday specifically opposed the two high-level waste plans. Last year, the governor wroteon Twitter that he wouldn’t let Texas become “the radioactive waste dumping ground of America.”

Abbott’s letter comes as the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission considers public comments on its initial reviews of both the Texas and New Mexico plans, and as opponents continue to fight the issue in federal appeals courts. There is no set timeline for when the commission might make a final decision on either plan.

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