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Higgins announces approval of bill authorizing risk assessment of proposed nuclear waste transport across Peace Bridge

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Thu, Feb 2nd 2017 06:20 pm

Legislation comes as public awaits federal court ruling on shipments

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced the House of Representatives has approved H.R. 667 the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2017. The bill, introduced by Rep. Martha McSally, includes language included by Higgins requiring the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a risk assessment prior to the transport of nuclear materials including the Department of Energy's planned transport of highly enriched liquid nuclear uranium across the Peace Bridge. A similar bill was approved last session, but was not considered in the Senate.

Approval of the legislation comes as a ruling on a related court case is imminent. Last summer, a coalition of organizations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy seeking judgment related to the requirement of an Environmental Impact Statement prior to authorization of the shipment of highly enriched liquid nuclear waste. As a result, the court directed - and parties on both sides agreed - no shipments would take place prior to a decision, which is expected on or before Feb. 15.

"We continue to fight for appropriate environmental and safety assessments as the Department of Energy plans, for the first time, to move this hazardous material through our community," said Higgins. He has repeatedly expressed concern and taken action following the DOE's announcement it will proceed with the transport of waste from the Chalk River Research reactor in Ontario over the Peace Bridge, through Western New York and other states, en route to the Savannah River site, without conducting a full environmental review.

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