Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, December 6, 1999
Envirocare's N-waste plan questioned
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Dec. 6. 1999 - Envirocare of Texas will have their attorneys
look at the statutes and regulations, and then meet with the Texas Department
of Health in the next couple of weeks regarding their application to them
for a low-level waste facility the company wants to create in Ward County.
"After our attorneys look over everything we'll meet with the Texas
Department of Health within the next couple of weeks," said Rick Jacobi,
vice president of operations and general counsel of Envirocare, after the
TDH turned down parts of their original submission.
"At this time, they just want additional information," said Jacobi.
"I wouldn't call it a rejection."
Envirocare's application for a low-level waste storage facility, which
would be built eight miles northeast of Barstow in Ward County, was challenged
by the Texas Department of Health.
TDH questioned the type of storage facility the company wanted to locate
in Ward County. But they did not reject the facility itself, saying only
it would have to submit a new application for review by the TDH's Bureau
of Radiation Control.
Envirocare is seeking to store low-level radioactive waste in an above-ground
concrete buildings. Jacobi said the company has tested the site and found
no underground aquifer, and said water from the location does not drain
into the Pecos River.
Envirocare wants to store waste Texas originally planned to bury underground
in Hudspeth County, in a state-run facility. That site, which would also
have housed waste from Maine and Vermont, was rejected by the Texas Natural
Resource Conservation Commissioner and Gov. George W. Bush last year.
The difference between the underground site and Envirocare's above-ground
storage proposal is at the center of the TDH's decision to turn down the
"That's good news for us, because now we can all get on the same page,"
said Ward County Precinct 1 Commissioner Julian Florez, whose precinct
includes the proposed waste dump site. "There were no state rules for what
they could do. They were just going to put that stuff in there and if those
concrete bunkers didn't hold up, we'd be up a creek."
"I don't think that the rejection is the issue here," said Reeves County
Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. "The issue is that Envirocare has been misleading
Galindo added that not only have they been misleading the public, but
they also tried to mislead a government agency, the Texas Department of
Envirocare submitted their application for a radioactive material license
to receive from other persons and store radioactive waste to TDH on Nov.
23, 1999. In their review letter, TDH, noted that Envirocare is requesting
authorization for a facility that purportedly will be in existence for
500 years and store waste for that length of time.
But TDH said The Bureau of Radiation Control does not think that it
has the authority to issue a license based on an application with such
proposed time span. The Bureau's position has both a regulatory and a technical
"Title 25 of the Texas Administrative Code, Section 289.254(b)(12)
defines a radioactive waste storage facility as a facility where radioactive
waste is "stored while awaiting shipment to a licensed radioactive waste
processing or disposal facility." The intent of a radioactive waste storage
facility is not for extended or protracted storage, but for storage only
so long as necessary to either (1) make a shipment to a disposal facility,
or (2) await the availability of a disposal facility. The intent was not
to accumulate and store for extended periods of time, but only until disposal
options could be exercised," according to the Texas Department of Health.
"The nature and intent of the application is further confounded by statements
made in a press release dated Nov. 23, from Envirocare. Specific items
of concern in the press release are found in paragraphs nine and 12.
"In paragraph nine the statement is made that "Envirocare of Texas
applied to build the facility to allow Texas to meet its interstate requirements
to manage low-level radioactive waste generated in the States of Texas,
Maine and Vermont." That statement is misleading, at best, and raises the
question of the true intent of the facility described in the application
submitted to the Bureau. The obligation for Texas as the host state of
the compact is to provide for the disposal of the low-level radioactive
waste, not storage. Thus, the implication would be that the facility being
applied for is in fact a disposal facility. If that is the case, our agency
is not the appropriate agency to submit an application to for that purpose,"
according to the Texas Department of Health.
"In that paragraph the key word is `THE facility,'" said Galindo. "That
statement is very misleading."
The TDH letter goes on to say, "In paragraph 12, (of the application),
the statement is made, "This storage method, sometimes referred to as assured
isolation…" This statement either implies or reveals a purpose of the facility
other than as presented in the application. As we have discussed on previous
occasions, the agency does not have the authority or the rules in place
to license an assured isolation facility. Furthermore, it seems clear from
the last legislative session that the state is not ready to embrace the
concept of assured isolation at this time.
The response from TDH further stated that, "given the questions as
to the true nature of the facility presented in the Nov. 23, application,
we request that you submit replacement pages, if you wish to pursue a Class
III radioactive waste storage license, which conform to the intent of a
Class III Waste Storage Operation (i.e., one in which a radioactive waste
storage facility is a place where radioactive waste is stored while awaiting
shipment to a licensed radioactive waste processing or disposal facility).
"It seems clear that at the last legislative session, the State of Texas,
was not ready to accept the concept of an assured isolation facility,"
said Galindo. "It's temporary storage as defined by the Nuclear Regulation
"We feel confident that when they see what we're proposing and see that
it's within the regulations, they'll understand and we can proceed from
there," said Jacobi.
"The Bureau of Radiation Control eventually reveals the true purpose
and intent of this facility," said Galindo.
Envirocare has talked with Ward County officials and city officials
in Monahans about the planned site. Jacobi has also met with Barstow officials
once, and was in Pecos for the first time last week to present the company's
proposal to the Town of Pecos City.
The city council, along with Galindo and the Reeves County Commissioners
are among the groups that have signed a resolution opposing the facility.
"And again, it's closer to Pecos than it is to Monahans," said Galindo.
The site would be located 32 miles west of Monahans and 14 miles northeast
Commisioners told RCDC job is on schedule
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Dec. 6. 1999 - Construction is on schedule at the Reeves County
Detention Center and everything is proceeding in a timely manner, according
to Mark Schumaker, with Banes General Contractors.
Schumaker was on hand for the special meeting of the Reeves County Commissioners
Court, where the court approved payment number eight to Banes General Contractors,
who have been working on the 1,000-bed expansion at the facility.
"We took bids on remaining items and everything is on schedule," said
Schumaker. "I'm confident that we'll be able to finish on time."
County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo told the court that the contractors have
been assigning a building to one supervisor and that he is in charge of
that particular building from the ground up. "They're holding that supervisor
liable for the building," said Galindo. "That really helps in terms of
Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin toured the facility recently and
told the court that the facility is going up really quickly. "There's a
lot of activity going on out there, a lot of work being done," said Tarin,
who visited the site with architect Lorraine Dailey.
"Everything looks good and it seems to be coming along smoothly," he
Schumaker stated that the facility should be completed by Sept. 1, 2000,
and would then be ready to take in inmates.
"There's a lot going on out there, everybody is working really hard,"
In other business, the commissioners court approved water line easements
for Madera Valley Water Corporation.
"We want to go ahead and advertise for bids on second part of the project,"
He said they wanted to let County Road and Bridges Supervisor Russ Salcido
know that Madera Valley Water has posted the appropriate signs and easements
on the designated county roads.
"This is one of the requirements to move along with the project," said
The designated signs were posted on county roads 112, 334, 336, 301
"They have put signs on each of these roads designating that they are
crossings," said Galindo.
A citizen speaking on behalf of her son, Hector Gutierrez, asked commissioners
court if they would be recipients of water from the Madera Valley Water
Corporation and if their property was in Reeves or Ward County.
Galindo told her that the property was in Ward County and she could
fill out an application to be a recipient of Madera Valley Water.
"Right now we're putting everyone on hold until we finish this project,"
said Tarin. "But after this, we'll be getting new customers and we have
from 100-150 applications," he said.
Galindo assured her that an application would be sent out to her and
she would be put on the list.
Chamber still accepting Christmas parade entries
PECOS, Dec. 6. 1999 - The Pecos Chamber of Commerce will be accepting entries
in the annual Christmas Parade right up until the line-up, at 5 p.m. this
Right now, the parade has about a dozen floats entered, along with two
color guards and the bands from both Crockett and Zavala Middle Schools
and the Pecos High School band.
The parade will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, with line-ups starting an hour
earlier in the Pecos High School band hall parking lot on South Park Street.
The parade will travel from there up South Eddy Street to Third Street,
and then east to Oak Street.
The parade will then go back north one block to the Reeves County Courthouse,
where it will conclude.
After the parade is over the annual lighting of the Reeves County Courthouse
Christmas tree will take place. The lighting ceremony is set for about
7 p.m. Friday night, and the 100 block of East Fourth Street will be closed
off while the ceremony takes place.
Santa to visit Saragosa Hall following parade
Santa Claus will be giving out candy to the children in the community
at 8 p.m., Friday, following the Annual Christmas Parade.
Santa will be at the Saragosa Hall, Sixth and Peach Streets and everyone
is invited to come and bring their children.
The event is sponsored by the Pecos Evening Optimist Club.
Week 13's winner for contest named
PECOS, Dec. 6. 1999 - Gary Rarick, 2105 Missouri St., won a tiebreaker
for first place in Week 12 of the Pecos Enterprise' Power Points contest.
He scored 115 points and beat out Alice Laron, who also scored 115 out
of 136 points.
Anita Delbert of El Campo won the $1,000 prize for the overall state
contest, getting 135 out of 136 points. Week 13's winners will be announced
later this week, and the entry form for Week 14 is on Page 4 of today's
Enterprise and will be available a sponsoring businesses until Friday.
AUSTIN (AP) - No tickets correctly matched all six numbers drawn Saturday
night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said.
The ticket would have been worth an estimated $17 million. The numbers
drawn Saturday night from a field of 50 were: 15-20-24-27-29-37. Wednesday
night's drawing will be worth an estimated $23 million.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 31-19-13-68. Number matching four of four in Group One:
0. Number matching four of four in Group Two: 0. Prize: $25,000. Number
matching four of four in Group Three: 1. Prize: $10,000. Number matching
three of four in any group: 388. Prize: $300.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 23-11-34-09-31. Number matching five of five: 8. Prize per winner:
$10,978. Winning ticket(s) sold in: Amarillo, Austin, Canyon Lake, Houston,
Raymondville, Rusk, San Antonio. Matching four of five: 272. Prize: $484.
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery,
in order: 7-2-6 (seven, two, six)
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 1-9-2 (one, nine, two)
High Sunday 63. Low this morning 22. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy.
Low around 30. Southwest wind 5-10 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High in
the lower 70s. West wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Low 30-35.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise