Inyo County Register

3/23/99

Waste transport comes under fire

Supervisors voice opposition to plan to truck radioactive waste along State Route 127

By Julian Lukins News Staff

Plans to transport radioactive waste through Inyo, County have been attacked by county supervisors.

The federal government is currently evaluating the potential use of State Route 127 in southeast Inyo for transportation of low-level radioactive waste to the Nevada Test Site for disposal. The same route through Tecopa-Shoshone and Death Valley function could also be used to transport high-level nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, Nev., if Congress approves the site.

Locals in the isolated region have voiced grave concerns about safety and the lack of trained emergency personnel in the area to deal with any accidents or spills.

Business people have aired worries about the possible impact on tourism in the remote region, with SR 127 used by thousands of tourists visiting Death Valley from Las Vegas. The Death Valley area Chamber of Commerce has opposed the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) plans to transport nuclear waste along SR 127, citing the possible impact on wilderness areas surrounding the national park.

County supervisors last week joined the list of groups and agencies concerned about the possible use of the desert route, passing a resolution in opposition.

If trucks were used to transport nuclear waste, along SR 127, as many as 118 shipments per day could occur, stated the resolution.

The resolution was forwarded to Inyo's federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C., as well as State Senator Pete Knight who is fighting the DOE's proposal.