Lawsuit Threat Over Ward Valley Study
* Re “Lawsuit Threat Halts Dump Site Tests,” Nov. 22:
All Californians should be alarmed by US Ecology’s blatant act of corporate terrorism designed to scuttle scientific inquiry concerning the safety of the Ward Valley nuclear waste dump. US Ecology’s threatened litigation against scientists charged with conducting safety studies seeks to hold the truth hostage.
Respected nuclear scientists have long questioned the safety of the Ward Valley dump. Serious technical questions have been raised about the possibility that the proposed dump, which will bury radioactive waste in the eastern Mojave Desert, could eventually contaminate the Colorado River.
Before federal lands are transferred for the dump site, the public has an absolute right to insist that the safety of the facility is beyond question. But US Ecology continues to attempt to block further environmental review. It has pushed Congress to pass legislation to transfer the federal lands without additional environmental study. Now, it threatens litigation against scientists whose only mission is to uncover the truth about the dump’s safety.
US Ecology’s latest action should be a wake-up call to Californians about the fitness of this corporate bully to handle radioactive wastes.
ROBERT M. MYERS
* Word that the federal govern- ment is halting its unnecessary studies at the proposed Ward Valley low-level radioactive waste disposal site is great news for California’s biotechnology and academic research communities. The Department of Interior lacks both the responsibility and competence to second-guess California’s Department of Health Services, the California Supreme Court, a National Academy of Sciences panel and other credentialed sources who consider it safe to proceed with project construction.
The plain fact is that radioactive waste is needlessly stacking up in densely populated areas while a remote, closely monitored desert site meeting all public safety requirements is held up by endless review processes. If the federal government will not turn over Ward Valley to California, Congress or the courts must do so soon.
ELIE A. SHNEOUR, PhD
Director, Biosystems Research
Institute, San Diego
* I think it is outrageous that a private company is trying to pressure, intimidate and influence the scientific process at the proposed Ward Valley radioactive waste dump by threatening litigation against the scientists if they proceed with the tests. What is most disconcerting is that the state has condoned these tactics by winking at US Ecology as it continues with its threats. What’s next for this company should the scientists brave it out and begin research on behalf of public--not private--interest?