Firm That Sought to Build Dump Loses Claim
A San Diego Superior Court judge ruled that US Ecology Inc., the firm that sought unsuccessfully to build a low-level radioactive waste dump in the Mojave Desert near Needles, was not entitled to collect nearly $223 million in expenses and lost profits from the state.
When the U.S. Department of the Interior declined to transfer the federally owned site for the dump to California because of unresolved safety issues, the state sued the federal government and lost in 1999. After Gov. Gray Davis declined to appeal that ruling, U.S. Ecology filed its suit, claiming the state broke a promise to use it best efforts to acquire the site.
Superior Court Judge Mac Amos ruled, in part, that the firm’s claims were barred by the doctrine of “unclean hands,” in that U.S. Ecology had opposed testing at the site, the results of which might have persuaded the U.S. that Ward Valley would not leak nuclear waste into nearby drinking water sources.