Summary: S.1671 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (10/06/1992)

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Land Withdrawal Act - Withdraws specified lands in the State of New Mexico from all forms of entry, appropriation, and disposal under the public land laws (including mineral and geothermal leasing, material sale, and mining laws). Transfers jurisdiction over the withdrawn lands to the Secretary of Energy (Secretary). Reserves their use by the Secretary for authorized activities associated with Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) project purposes set forth in the Department of Energy National Security and Military Applications of Nuclear Energy Authorization Act of 1980. Revokes specified public land orders made inconsistent by this Act.

Confers management responsibility upon the Secretary for such lands' withdrawal, and directs the Secretary to: (1) consult with the Secretary of the Interior and the State of New Mexico in discharging such responsibility; and (2) develop and submit to the Congress and the State of New Mexico a management plan for the use of withdrawn lands until the end of the decommissioning phase. Gives WIPP-related uses of the withdrawn lands priority over non-WIPP-related uses. Prescribes guidelines for grazing, hunting and trapping, disposal of salt tailings, and oil and gas production. Proscribes any form of mining (including slant drilling from outside boundaries) on any withdrawn lands.

Authorizes the Secretary to close withdrawn lands to the public for health and safety or common defense and security reasons.

Requires the Secretary to prepare and submit to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for review a plan for: (1) conducting test phase activities at WIPP to demonstrate compliance with applicable disposal requirements; and (2) removing transuranic waste emplaced at WIPP during such testing should removal of such waste be required. Conditions plan approval by the EPA Administrator upon the meeting of specified standards.

Sets forth requirements and limitations with respect to test phase activities at WIPP.

Requires the Secretary to study remote-handled transuranic waste and its impact upon WIPP performance assessment.

Requires the Secretary to publish biennially a performance assessment report on WIPP's performance during such testing. Requires such report to be provided to the State of New Mexico, the EPA Administrator, the National Academy of Sciences, and the WIPP Environmental Evaluation Group (EEG) for their review and comment.

Sets forth requirements and limitations with respect to transuranic waste disposal operations at WIPP.

Provides for the reinstatement of certain EPA disposal regulations.

Requires the EPA Administrator to issue final disposal regulations and final criteria for the Administrator's certification of compliance with such regulations after the enactment of this Act.

Requires the Secretary to comply at WIPP with such final disposal regulations within a specified period after WIPP's first receipt of transuranic waste. Requires the following if the EPA Administrator does not certify the WIPP facility's compliance with such regulations: (1) removal of transuranic waste emplaced underground at WIPP and the decommissioning of WIPP; and (2) termination of the land withdrawal. Provides for periodic recertification of WIPP compliance with such final disposal regulations until WIPP has been decommissioned.

Requires the Secretary to use both engineered and natural barriers and waste form modifications at WIPP to isolate transuranic waste after disposal to the extent necessary to comply with final disposal regulations.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) comply with all applicable environmental protection laws and regulations and public health and safety laws with respect to WIPP; and (2) submit biennially to the EPA Administrator and the State of New Mexico documentation of continued compliance with their regulatory requirements.

Sets forth requirements with respect to the retrievability of transuranic waste emplaced underground at WIPP.

Requires periodic inspections of WIPP by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Requires the Administration to provide the results of its inspections to the Secretary for appropriate action. Requires the Bureau of Mines to prepare an annual evaluation of the safety of WIPP.

Prohibits the Secretary from transporting high-level radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel to WIPP or to emplace or dispose of such waste or fuel at WIPP.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) submit to the Congress, the State of New Mexico, the Secretary of the Interior, and the EPA Administrator a plan for the decommissioning of WIPP; and (2) submit to the Congress a plan for the management and use of withdrawn lands following WIPP's decommission or the termination of the land withdrawal.

Authorizes appropriations to the Secretary for impact assistance and other payments for the State of New Mexico and affected units of local government.

Prohibits transuranic waste from being transported by or for the Secretary to or from WIPP except in packages that have been certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and have satisfied its quality assurance requirements.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) provide advance notification to the States and Indian tribes through whose jurisdiction the Secretary plans to transport transuranic waste to or from WIPP; (2) provide technical assistance and funds for accident prevention and emergency preparedness training of public safety officials in any such State or Indian tribe; (3) report to the Congress and affected States and Indian tribes on the training provided; (4) periodically review such training; (5) enter into agreements to assist States in acquiring equipment for response to an incident involving transuranic waste transported to or from WIPP; and (6) provide assistance to any such State or Indian tribe for the purpose of WIPP-specific transportation safety programs.

Prohibits transportation of transuranic waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory to WIPP until the Sante Fe bypass has been completed, funds for its construction have been made available to the State, or the EPA Administrator has certified the WIPP facility's compliance with final disposal regulations.

Requires the Secretary to study and report to the Congress on the shipment of transuranic waste to the WIPP facility.

Provides that if the Secretary determines that emergency response medical training for incidents involving transuranic waste being transported to or from WIPP is inadequate, the Secretary shall take immediate action to correct the inadequacies and, if necessary, suspend transportation of such waste.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) provide the State, the National Academy of Sciences, and the EEG with free and timely access to data relating to the health, safety, or environmental issues at WIPP; (2) provide the State and the EEG with preliminary reports relating to health, safety, or environmental issues at WIPP; and (3) to the extent practicable, permit the State and the EEG to attend meetings relating to health, safety, or environmental issues at WIPP with expert panels and peer review groups.

Provides for judicial review of final EPA actions.

Requires the Secretary to submit to the Congress a study reviewing the technologies for processing radioactive wastes.

Conditions the expenditure of funds under this Act upon the recipient's agreement to comply with the provisions of the Buy American Act. Expresses the sense of the Congress that such recipients should purchase only American-made equipment and products. Directs the Secretary to notify each recipient of this expectation.

Authorizes appropriations to the Administrator through FY 2001 to fulfill his or her responsibilities under this Act. Requires the Administrator to submit annual status reports to the Congress. Authorizes the Secretary to transfer sums from amounts appropriated for environmental restoration and waste management as may be necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the EPA Administrator and the Secretary under this Act.

Authorizes appropriations to the Secretary to acquire certain Federal oil and gas leases.