Group Calls for Governor to Reject Energy Solutions' Deal

KUTV

An environmental group is calling on Utah Governor Gary Herbert to "publicly" reject a "settlement offer" for bringing foreign nuclear waste to Utah. This, in the wake of EnergySolutions' disclosure that it is in "settlement discussions" over the plan that has drawn controversy for years.

Vanessa Pierce with the group Heal Utah says, "If he were to cave, Governor Herbert would look weak, plain and simple."

Heal Utah has campaigned to ban low level foreign nuclear waste shipments to the EnergySolutions site in Utah's West Desert.

Former Governor Jon Huntsman fought those shipments, and new Governor Gary Herbert has said he's against them.

But after prevailing in a round in federal court weeks ago, EnergySolutions said Friday it was in "settlement discussions" over the plan for the waste.

Pierce says, "Utah has everything to lose and nothing to gain by settling."

She wrote to the Governor, "It would do much to allay public concern about these recent news reports if you publicly rejected EnergySolutions' settlement offer"

That offer is to split revenue from the waste shipments, which the company says could mean hundreds of millions of dollars to the state. That might sound good to some at a time when economic turmoil means Utah is hard up for money.

On Friday the Governor's spokesperson told 2News that Herbert is still against bringing in the low-level Italian waste, and is continuing to stake that position in the courts.

EnergySolutions says its offer is in the state's "best interest" to take the deal.