TEXAS LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL COMPACT CONSENT ACT
(House of Representatives - October 07, 1997)

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[Pages H8512-H8537]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




     TEXAS LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL COMPACT CONSENT ACT

  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on 
Rules, I call up House Resolution 258 and ask for its immediate 
consideration.
  The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

                              H. Res. 258

       Resolved, That at any time after the adoption of this 
     resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 1(b) of rule 
     XXIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the 
     Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of 
     the bill (H.R. 629) to grant the consent of the Congress to 
     the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact. The 
     first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. General 
     debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one 
     hour equally divided and controlled by the chairman and 
     ranking minority member of the Committee on Commerce. After 
     general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment 
     under the five-minute rule. Each section of the bill shall be 
     considered as read. During consideration of the bill for 
     amendment, the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole may 
     accord priority in recognition on the basis of whether the 
     Member offering an amendment has caused it to be printed in 
     the portion of the Congressional Record designated for that 
     purpose in clause 6 of rule XXIII. Amendments so printed 
     shall be considered as read. The Chairman of the Committee of 
     the Whole may: (1) postpone until a time during further 
     consideration in the Committee of the Whole a request for a 
     recorded vote on any amendment; and (2) reduce to five 
     minutes the minimum time for electronic voting on any 
     postponed question that follows another electronic vote 
     without intervening business, provided that the minimum time 
     for electronic voting on the first in any series of questions 
     shall be fifteen minutes. At the conclusion of consideration 
     of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report 
     the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been 
     adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered 
     on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without 
     intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or 
     without instructions.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Ewing). The gentlewoman from Ohio [Ms. 
Pryce] is recognized for 1 hour.
  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I 
yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Hall], 
my good friend, pending which I yield myself such time as I may 
consume. During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is 
for the purposes of debate only.


                             General Leave

  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend 
their remarks on this resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Ohio?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 258 provides for 
consideration of H.R. 629, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste 
Disposal Compact Consent Act, under another completely fair and open 
rule.
  The rule provides for 1 hour of general debate equally divided and 
controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee 
on Commerce.
  Under the rule, the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole may give 
priority recognition to those Members who have preprinted their 
amendments in the Congressional Record prior to their consideration. 
And to expedite consideration of H.R. 629, the rule also allows the 
Chair to postpone recorded votes and reduce to 5 minutes the voting 
time on any postponed question, as long as the first in any series of 
votes is not less than 15 minutes.
  Finally, as is customary, the minority will be provided with a motion 
to recommit with or without instructions.
  Mr. Speaker, in 1980 Congress passed legislation to provide a system 
for States to take responsibility for the disposal of low-level 
radioactive waste. Examples of low-level radioactive waste include 
waste that is disposed of

[[Page H8513]]

by hospitals, by universities conducting research, and by electric 
utilities. This waste poses relatively few risks and typically does not 
require any special protective shielding to make it safe for workers 
and communities.
  Congress recognized, when it passed the Low-level Radioactive Waste 
Policy Act of 1980, that while the Federal Government should handle 
high-level waste, States should be primarily responsible for disposal 
of low-level wastes generated within their borders. Through the 1980 
act, Congress encouraged States to either build their own disposal 
sites or enter into compacts with other States to share waste disposal 
facilities. That is exactly what the States of Texas, Vermont, and 
Maine have done.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a straightforward rule which deals with a 
straightforward process, the ratification of an interstate compact 
under the law as Congress wrote it.
  All the hard work has already been done by the States of Texas, 
Vermont, and Maine, who negotiated the compact and gained the approval 
of their respective States. The Governors and legislatures in the 
States of Texas and Vermont have approved the compact, and Maine 
secured its citizens' support through a public referendum.
  The compact provides that the State of Texas will host the waste 
facility, but it does not name a specific site. And while Congress does 
not have to give its consent for interstate agreements to have 
validity, congressional approval is desirable in this instance to 
assure that compact members will be able to reject waste from nonmember 
States.
  Mr. Speaker, that is all we are doing today, telling the States of 
Texas, Maine, and Vermont whether or not we accept their mutual 
agreement. It is nothing new. Congress has already given its consent to 
9 such compacts, including 41 States. Today if we pass this rule and 
the underlying legislation, Congress will be ratifying compact number 
10.
  In the Committee on Rules, we heard from the bill's proponents who, 
in fairness, mentioned the concerns of a few other Members who were not 
present to give their testimony. While no specific amendments were 
mentioned to the committee, the open process that this rule provides 
should offer concerned Members ample opportunity to debate and offer 
germane amendments that they feel will improve the bill. Or, perhaps 
through the motion to recommit, the bill's opponents will choose to 
make their views known. The point is, this rule gives them that option.
  As one of my Democratic colleagues on the Committee on Rules pointed 
out last night, this issue has been around for a long time. And to be 
fair to the States involved, the underlying bill deserves to be debated 
in this body and receive an up-or-down vote.

                              {time}  1415

  Therefore, I encourage my colleagues to support the open rule before 
us so that the House can move forward and debate the merits of the 
underlying legislation. I urge a ``yes'' vote on this open rule.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  I thank my colleague, the gentlewoman from Ohio [Ms. Pryce] for 
yielding me the time.
  This is an open rule. It will allow full and fair debate on H.R. 629, 
which is the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent 
Act. The bill approves an agreement between the States of Texas, Maine, 
and Vermont to establish a disposal facility in Texas for low level 
radioactive waste. Under this rule amendments will be allowed under the 
5-minute rule, the normal amending process in the House.
  The Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact has supporters 
and opponents among the Members of the House, as does the bill. 
However, all Members on both sides of the aisle will have the 
opportunity to offer amendments under this open rule. And because it is 
an open rule, and because 2 years ago when the House took up an 
identical bill, we also had an open rule that was approved by voice 
vote, Mr. Speaker, I would urge adoption of this resolution, which is 
an open rule before us today.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Barton].
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for 
yielding me the time. I rise in support of the rule. As has been 
pointed out by majority and minority members of the Committee on Rules, 
this is an open rule.
  The Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives the Congress the right 
to regulate interstate commerce between the States. The States of 
Texas, Vermont, and Maine have chosen to form a compact as a result of 
the Low Level Nuclear Waste Act and the amendments back in 1985. If 
ratified and signed by the President, this act would give those States 
the right to ship their low level radioactive nuclear waste to a site 
in Texas that is unspecified in the bill.
  There are some opponents. The gentleman from San Antonio who 
represents the congressional district, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. 
Bonilla] is here and does oppose this site that apparently is going to 
be chosen.
  This bill deserves to be debated on the floor. It was debated on the 
floor in the 104th Congress and passed with 243 in the affirmative and 
176 in the negative. It did not go to the Senate because it was on the 
suspension calendar and it failed to get the two-thirds vote.
  We are not on the suspension calendar this afternoon. We have an open 
rule so that any Member can offer amendments to the bill. I would hope 
that the rule itself will be noncontroversial and that we can pass it 
by unanimous consent and then get into the actual debate of the bill. I 
rise in support of the rule and hope that all Members will support it.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Maine [Mr. Baldacci].
  Mr. BALDACCI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support this rule on H.R. 
629, the bill to give congressional consent to the Texas Low Level 
Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact.
  The Committee on Rules has recommended an open rule for allowing for 
1 hour of general debate. I fully expect a vigorous discussion of the 
compact. I look forward to that debate and to answering any questions 
that may arise.
  This compact is important for Vermont. It is important for Texas. And 
it is important for Maine. This would be the 10th compact that Congress 
has ratified since 1985, when Congress enacted the low level 
radioactive waste disposal policy. Congress gave the States a mandate, 
an unfunded one, I might add, to develop methods for managing low level 
waste. The three States have diligently complied with that mandate. The 
Governors and legislatures of Vermont and Texas have approved the 
compact. The Governor, the legislature, and the people of Maine have 
approved the compact. I urge Members to support the rule.
  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Bonilla].
  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the gentlewoman from 
Ohio [Ms. Pryce] for yielding the time to me.
  There is no Member of Congress that is more engaged or focused on 
this issue today than myself, Mr. Speaker. I rise in opposition to the 
rule and the bill. I will be getting into more details during general 
debate as to the reasons why we should defeat this bill.
  This is a clear case of constituents in my area being victimized 
without having a say in where this low level radioactive waste dump 
site is going to be constructed. This is a country that I have grown up 
in always understanding that if something is going to happen in a 
person's neighborhood, it ought to be with their approval or at least 
they have some kind of input in the process. That is not the case at 
all.
  We have been debating and arguing about this issue for so many years 
now. It has finally come to a head here where the proponents have 
worked very hard to try to turn Members around to vote differently than 
they did the last time this came to the floor. That is why I am working 
hard today to oppose the rule and the bill.
  I do commend members of the Committee on Rules and the gentleman from 
New York [Mr. Solomon] for providing an open rule. It is the fairest 
kind of rule that we can have. But my

[[Page H8514]]

point is that this bill should not even be before us today. That is why 
I will be opposing the rule and opposing the bill after we finish the 
vote on this rule.
  I look at, this is just a handful of the petitions that have been 
signed by men, women, and children in my congressional district. Up to 
a dozen counties and towns have already expressed their strong 
opposition to this dump site. Again, it is a sparsely populated area in 
west Texas, part of the area that I represent that spans 58,000 square 
miles. People out there are entitled to their constitutional rights, to 
their property rights. They should not be victimized by just being told 
this has to be built in their backyard, and we are going to fight hard 
to defeat this rule and bill today.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Doggett].
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, to set the record correct at the beginning, 
this is a bad idea that has been defeated by a majority of this House 
once in the last Congress. I believe my colleague, the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Barton], got it backward on the result. There were 176 
Members of this Congress that said they wanted to dump radioactive 
waste on Texas and the district of the gentleman from Texas [Mr. 
Bonilla], and there were 243 of us that said we do not want to be the 
Lone Star dump, and the bill was defeated.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. DOGGETT. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I just want to say, the gentleman 
is correct. I did have it backward. The gentleman from Austin, TX is 
correct on the numbers.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, that is the first concession by an Aggie to 
a Longhorn in this body in a long time. I appreciate it.
  This bad idea has been defeated once on the floor of this Congress 
and the question is, should we reconsider today and decide that the 
last Congress was wrong and that it is time to dump radioactive waste 
on Texas? In Texas we have a very short answer to that. Don't mess with 
Texas. We find it on pickup trucks and Cadillacs and Fords and 
Volkswagens all over the State of Texas. That is exactly what is being 
proposed here today, messing with Texas.
  We are pretty proud down there in the Lone Star State of the fact 
that we have a lone star as a symbol of our independence as Texans. 
But, by golly, we do not want the Lone Star State turned into the lone 
dump State, and that is what is about to happen if this bill is 
approved.
  Lest anyone think this is just a Texas issue, let me emphasize that 
of late, since the vote in the last Congress, and there are of course 
not 243 Texans here, that since the vote in the last Congress even some 
of the Yankees who are in this compact have come to the conclusion that 
dumping on Texas is a pretty lousy idea. Indeed, within the last week 
the largest contributor of nuclear waste to this dump, up in Maine, 
appropriately titled the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant, has written 
to Speaker Gingrich and to various Members of this Congress saying do 
not do it. They recognize that it is going actually to cost citizens in 
Maine more money, not less money, if this compact is approved.
  I think that it is a bad idea, not only for Texans but for those in 
the compact at the other end of the country in New England, those 
served by the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant and by anyone who sits 
in between New England and west Texas that might have this nuclear 
waste shipped through their area.
  This compact has been lobbied through the Texas legislature by some 
of the most high-powered lobbyists around. They lobbied the legislature 
of Texas to accept this compact on the grounds that it would protect 
Texas, and that Texas would be teamed up with two little States way up 
in New England that probably could not generate very much waste to be 
dumped there, and we would be a lot better off there than being teamed 
up with some State like New York or Massachusetts or California that 
might send a whole lot of waste down to Texas.
  There is only one problem with that reasoning. This is not a Texas-
Vermont-Maine compact. It is mislabeled. It is a Texas-Vermont-Maine 
compact plus any other State that a group of appointed, unelected 
commissioners, accountable to no one but themselves, may choose to add 
to the compact.
  In fact, the economics of this compact are going to cause exactly the 
opposite result of what those who promoted the compact told the Texas 
legislature and the people of Texas. This compact could be expanded to 
include waste from anywhere, of any type, at any time that this group 
of unelected compact commissioners decides that they want to dump it on 
the district of the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla]. That waste does 
not have to be approved by people in Sierra Blanca, TX, or anywhere 
else.
  It is a bad idea. Don't mess with Texas or any place in between.
  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Green].
  (Mr. GREEN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. GREEN. Mr. Speaker, it is with some trepidation I follow my 
colleague from Texas because obviously, let me correct something, I was 
in the legislature in 1991 when the legislature passed the compact 
enabling legislation, again, to limit the ability as the Federal 
Government and this Congress allowed States to limit their access for 
waste, Texas, Maine, and Vermont.
  Now, granted, some future legislature, I do not know if it is 
appointed officials but the legislature in Texas decides to appoint 
officials, they could delegate that authority, but that is just not the 
case. The legislature in Texas, after studying it, adopted this site in 
west Texas. It was not picked by Washington. It was not even picked by 
those of us who served in the 1991 legislative session because all we 
did was enable the legislature to do that, to do the study.
  Granted, nobody wants waste, particularly low level, but we have to 
have a place for it. The compact allows Texas, Maine, and Vermont to 
work together to have that site. That site was picked in Hudspeth 
County. We did not pick that site in Congress. The local folks in Texas 
did that, and the legislature actually ultimately did. That is the best 
reason why this ought to be passed today. We are not going to debate 
the site. Sure, I would rather have the site in Maine or Vermont but 
Texas agreed to do it by those local officials.
  This is just an affirmation of the compact that this Congress allowed 
for low level. We are going to hear a lot today, not only on this rule. 
It is an open rule. We will hear a lot about transportation, a lot 
about the site in west Texas. Again, it is away from an urban area. The 
closest urban area is El Paso.
  This is the best of a bad world, but we have to have a place to put 
this low level waste. This is, again, the local decision by the State 
of Texas to do that. That is why 23 of the Members from Texas are 
supporting this bill, this rule and this bill today. We will hear a 
great deal more as we go into the full debate.
  That is why I am proud to be a cosponsor of the bill. I have for a 
number of years because we have to have a reasonable place to put it. 
We cannot just deny it and let it be out there in limbo, having this 
warehoused on sites, whether it be hospitals or whether it be on power 
plant facilities. We have to have a permanent solution for it, 
someplace where we can put it together safely instead of having it in 
storage facilities behind hospitals, in urban areas. That is not 
possible.
  We are going to hear the concern about the transportation, whether it 
be from my colleagues in Dallas or in Houston. I represent an urban 
area. We have more volatile substances on our freeways right now in 
Houston than this low level waste. So I would hope that the Congress, 
after considering this bill today, would pass it favorably so we can 
have a compact between Texas, Maine, and Vermont to have a reasonable 
place for our low level waste.
  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Sam Johnson].

                              {time}  1430

  Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to second what

[[Page H8515]]

my colleague in the Texas legislature and here, the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Green], has said. It was a Texas decision. It was made by 
the Texas legislature. I was there with him when that decision was 
made. Texas made the decision to have a compact and Texas deserves to 
have the Congress affirm it.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman 
from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich].
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, 30 years ago the nuclear utility industry 
was telling Americans it would provide power that was too cheap to 
meter. Soon Americans found out it was power too expensive to use. Now 
we are told that we have power that is too hot to handle and power 
refuse that is too dangerous to store.
  Mr. Speaker, I offer these comments in the context of the rule and 
the debate which will follow so that my colleagues can have the benefit 
of the experience that I had as a State Senator in Ohio who led the 
effort against the siting of a multistate radioactive waste dump in the 
State of Ohio.
  There was an effort to bring in waste from Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, 
Minnesota and Missouri, 2.25 cubic million feet of radioactive waste, 
into the State of Ohio. And in the course of examining this proposal, 
what we found out was this.
  That the waste itself, called low-level, in fact exists for thousands 
of years. So the word ``low-level'' is a misnomer; and that inevitably 
the cost involved here will be passed on to consumers or taxpayers, as 
nuclear utilities will either not handle the cost or find ways for the 
States or the taxpayers of the States to absorb.
  Furthermore, there is no known technology which can safely store this 
radioactive waste for more than 25 years. These casks which they are 
put in will deteriorate and crack and the waste will leach out into the 
outside environment. There is no way to prevent a release to the 
outside. We found this out through months and months of public 
hearings.
  We found out that not only does the technology not exist but the 
Department of Energy itself will admit that the best they can do with 
these casks is to keep the radioactive waste for 25 years. We found out 
that there was no safe way to transport millions upon millions of cubic 
feet of radioactive waste across this country.
  So let it not be said this is simply a State issue. This is a 
national issue, because the movement of radioactive waste, thousands 
upon thousands of miles, goes through our neighborhoods, through our 
communities, and our people are at risk when we have an unstable 
radioactive waste in containers that cannot always be safely affirmed.
  Furthermore, there is no safe place to site radioactive waste. The 
fact of the matter is that there is a difference in the amount of risk 
that is out there. It is unsafe whether it is sited near Lake Erie or 
near the Rio Grande. We need a national policy which puts the nuclear 
utilities on notice that they have to come up with the solution and 
they have to pay for it, not the taxpayers or the ratepayers.
  The real question here is a public interest question of whether or 
not the nuclear utilities are going to be served or whether or not the 
public interest is going to be served. This is not an issue where the 
States can make this decision in a vacuum. The decision is made by this 
Congress and it affects the entirety of the United States.
  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman 
from Nevada, [Mr. Ensign].
  Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. Speaker, we have heard from the proponents of this 
bill that Texas said ``yes,'' but we have also heard that the local 
people where this nuclear waste will be stored said ``no.'' We have 
also heard that people object to the transport of low-level nuclear 
waste.
  Let us switch this argument just temporarily to low level versus high 
level, because those people who are going to be voting to put low-level 
nuclear waste in the State of Texas, their concerns on transport and 
the like should also be the same concerns when it comes to high-level 
nuclear waste, which will be coming to this floor in approximately 2 
weeks.
  Mr. Speaker, all those opposed to this bill should also be opposed to 
the high-level transport of nuclear waste, which is much more dangerous 
than the transport of low-level nuclear waste across this country. I 
would urge everyone to take a close look at both bills and to vote 
``no'' on both bills.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman 
from Texas [Ms. Jackson-Lee].
  (Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that we all 
need to look closely at and, obviously, there are many ways that we may 
view this. I think that we have an obligation to our hospitals, our 
research laboratories, and our universities to emphasize that this is 
low-level radioactive waste. It is trash-like material, some consisting 
of paper and plastics and construction materials that are contaminated 
with low levels of radioactive materials.
  I need to assure and emphasize that the storing of these materials 
will be governed by Federal regulations, and that there is a life that 
will be tested as to the impact that these materials will have on the 
surrounding community.
  But the most important point, because we are champions, those of us 
who have supported this compact, mind my colleagues, just a compact 
that is approved by Congress, that gives permission, the States have 
already engaged in a cooperative effort, but the real issue are the 
citizens, and the decision of where and how has not yet been decided. 
In fact, no site will be selected without public hearings that give 
concerned citizens the opportunity to express their views on the 
location of the facility, and the State of Texas should ensure, as they 
are, that these hearings will be held.
  Environmental agencies will conduct the appropriate review and 
resolve environmental concerns in accordance with current law and 
regulations. No radioactive waste from States other than Texas, Maine 
and Vermont would be stored at the facility.
  The real key is that we have to find solutions to these very 
difficult problems. We must relate those to the surrounding communities 
and we must be fair to the surrounding communities. At the same time, 
we must recognize the problems that our hospitals and research 
laboratories and universities are facing.
  This is a rule that we should support and, finally, Mr. Speaker, we 
should support the final passage of this bill and work with local 
officials to ensure that the local citizens are protected. I would ask 
my colleagues to support this legislation.
  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Barton].
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for 
yielding me this time.
  I just want to refocus the debate. We are debating an open rule. We 
are debating an open rule, where any Member can come before the Chamber 
and offer an amendment germane to the bill. So we should support the 
open rule.
  On some of the other issues that have been raised, this is low-level 
nuclear radioactive waste, not high-level. The gentleman from Ohio, who 
talked about regulating the transportation of these wastes, this does 
not do anything with transportation. It simply gives, under the 
commerce clause of the Constitution, the rights of the States of Texas, 
Vermont and Maine to have a compact.
  In regard to that, if they do not ratify the compact, any State can 
transport its low-level nuclear waste to Texas. Ohio was in a compact 
with Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin, for example.
  So I hope we will vote for the open rule, have a debate on whether 
the States should have a right to have a compact, and then have the 
vote on the bill.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas, [Mr. Reyes].
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
time, and I rise in opposition to the rule.
  I find it ironic that there are a number of my fellow Texans that are 
fighting for this rule and fighting for this bill. If it is such a good 
deal, why do they not put it in their district?
  We must prevent this bill from becoming law and we can do that by 
voting against the rule and sending this

[[Page H8516]]

bill back where it came from. By defeating the rule we can send a very 
clear message that it is bad public policy to dump radioactive waste in 
communities that are primarily populated by minorities.
  By defeating the rule we can keep our word to the Mexican Government 
under which we signed the 1983 La Paz agreement.
  By defeating this rule we can prevent radioactive waste from being 
transported through 12 States and more than 2,000 miles to be dumped on 
a small community in far west Texas.
  By defeating this rule we can do what the Maine Yankee Nuclear Power 
Reactor wants us to do, and that is not to pass this compact.
  I urge all of my colleagues to defeat this rule.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman 
from Vermont [Mr. Sanders].
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
time. I rise in strong support of the rule and in strong support of the 
legislation.
  It seems to me that we have two issues that we are discussing. The 
first is process. And in terms of process, what the Members should 
understand is that we have three State legislatures, Texas, Vermont and 
Maine, which overwhelmingly voted to enter this compact. We have three 
Governors, and I might add one is a Republican, one is a Democrat, and 
one is an Independent, who today strongly support going forward with 
the compact. We have six U.S. Senators from Texas, Maine and Vermont 
strongly in support of the compact. We have the two Members from Maine, 
the entire Vermont delegation, me, in support of the compact. I know 
that will carry a lot of weight. We are undivided on this issue, and we 
have two-thirds of the Texas House delegation in support of this 
compact.
  So for those Members who believe in devolution, in giving power to 
the States, it seems to me we should treat this compact in the same way 
we have treated 9 other compacts involving 41 States. Texas, Maine and 
Vermont want to be treated the same way as 41 other States have been 
treated.
  The second issue, and actually the more important issue, has to do 
with good environmental policy. I happen to believe that passage of 
this amendment makes absolute environmental sense. The evidence is 
very, very strong that the geology of Vermont and Maine is such that it 
would be a serious environmental problem if we continued to keep the 
waste in those States.
  The real issue, I must tell my colleagues, and I say this as an 
opponent of nuclear power, if I had my way, we would close down every 
nuclear power plant in this country as soon as we could, safely, but 
the problem is we have low-level waste. And to turn our backs on that 
problem and ignore that problem and to say that it will go away is 
wrong.
  The environmental debate today should be what is the safest way of 
disposing of low-level radioactive waste, and I would argue strongly 
that the passage of this legislation and depositing it in a safer 
location in Texas is the direction that we should go.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Hall].
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today of course in strong 
support of this rule. The Texas low-level waste compact is a very 
simple and straightforward piece of legislation. It is not all as 
strange as has been made out here. It simply seeks approval of an 
agreement between three States, Texas, Maine and Vermont, on the 
management of States' low-level waste.
  It is important, I think, to note, because it has been brought up by 
so many of the speakers, that opponents raise issues that cannot be 
addressed in H.R. 629, such as location. This is not a place to address 
location. Geological and environmental review are by law designated to 
the State jurisdiction.
  In Texas, the review process has been closely scrutinized by the 
Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, the EPA of the State 
of Texas, the State held town hall meetings, open debate on the floor 
of the Texas legislature, and intense negotiation by State leaders.
  I agree with the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett] when he says, 
``Don't mess with Texas.'' Don't mess with Texas. Don't mess with the 
legislature of Texas that has already decided this thing. Don't mess 
with Bulloch, who herded it through the State Senate. Don't mess with 
Speaker Laney, who herded it through the house. Don't mess with the 
Governors of these three States. Don't mess with the TNN-RCC. Don't 
mess with the town hall meetings.

                              {time}  1445

  I think this has been decided at the State level. Nothing in this 
compact agreement designates where in the State of Texas the site is 
going to be located. As a matter of fact, it is in absolutely no way 
site specific. The location and regulation of the site are solely State 
issues left up to the whole State, which in this case is Texas.
  By approving this compact, Texas will be required to accept waste 
only from Maine and Vermont. And without a compact, I say to the others 
from Texas, we can find ourselves having to accept waste from any 
number of States.
  So never before has Congress rejected a low-level waste compact. I 
strongly urge my colleagues to honor the good-faith agreements between 
Texas, Maine, and Vermont by supporting this rule and by supporting the 
bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. PRYCE of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, let me remind my colleagues that we are here debating a 
completely open rule providing for the consideration of H.R. 629. It 
does not get any fairer than that around here. Whether or not my 
colleagues support the Texas compact, which is the issue dealt with by 
the underlying legislation, the rule itself is eminently fair, both 
opponents and proponents. Therefore, I once again strongly urge my 
colleagues to support this open rule.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the 
previous question on the resolution.
  The previous question was ordered.
  The resolution was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Barrett of Nebraska). Pursuant to House 
Resolution 258 and rule XXIII, the Chair declares the House in the 
Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the 
consideration of the bill, H.R. 629.

                              {time}  1447


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole 
House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill (H.R. 
629) to grant the consent of the Congress to the Texas Low-Level 
Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact, with Mr. Ewing in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as having 
been read the first time.
  Under the rule, the gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Dan Schaefer and the 
gentleman from Texas, Mr. Hall, each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Dan Schaefer.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time 
as I may consume.
  (Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado asked and was given permission to 
revise and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, H.R. 629, the Texas Low-
Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act, would grant the 
consent of Congress to the low-level radioactive waste disposal 
agreement reached between the States of Texas, Maine, and Vermont.
  When Congress passed the Low-level Radioactive Waste Policy Act in 
1980, it was a part of a broader agreement whereby the States are 
responsible for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste while the 
Federal Government is responsible for high-level waste disposal.
  Since the 1980 act was passed, 41 States, as has been stated before, 
have received the consent of Congress for disposal compacts. Low-level 
radioactive waste includes a host of materials, from medical isotopes, 
to university research wastes, to the industrial

[[Page H8517]]

waste generated at nuclear power plants.
  The vast majority of these wastes do not even require the use of 
special containers to protect against threats to human health. In most 
cases, the radioactivity in these materials will decay to the point 
where there is no significant risk to human health after about 100 
years.
  With the decision to put low-level waste responsibilities at the 
State level, the obligations of the Federal Government are fairly 
limited. Clearly and certainly, it is our responsibility to ensure that 
the compacts comply with the Federal Low-level Waste Act.
  During our consideration of H.R. 629 in the Committee on Commerce, it 
was clear that the compact meets this test. The State legislatures and 
Governors of Texas, Maine, and Vermont have met their obligation under 
the Low-level Radioactive Waste Policy Act. It is now our 
responsibility to support the States in this decision.
  I want to thank the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton] and certainly 
the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Hall], ranking member on the Subcommittee 
on Energy and Power, the sponsors of this legislation, for their very 
strong leadership and capable effort in moving the bill to this point. 
I strongly support H.R. 629 and encourage its adoption by the full 
House.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to yield 15 
minutes to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla] and and that he be 
permitted to yield time.
  The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from 
Texas?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Reyes].
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Texas [Mr. 
Bonilla] for yielding me the time.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise today to oppose H.R. 629, which will allow 
radioactive waste to be dumped in the far west community of Sierra 
Blanca.
  There are many reasons to vote against this bill. First, it violates 
the 1983 La Paz agreement between Mexico and the United States. This 
agreement directs both Governments to adopt appropriate measures to 
prevent and eliminate sources of pollution within a 60-mile radius of 
the border.
  The State of Texas asserts that they must merely inform the 
Government of Mexico. But many people disagree. There is widespread 
objection to this site at all levels of the Mexican Government. The 
Mexican State of Chihuahua, which adjoins the proposed site, opposes 
the Sierra Blanca site. The Embassy of Mexico expressed deep concerns 
about the proposed site.
  The chairman of the Mexican Senate's Committee on the Environment has 
written his American counterpart to object. The city councils of El 
Paso and Juarez have both issued a position statement in strong 
opposition to the site.
  But if that is not compelling enough argument against this bill, 
there are others. If H.R. 629 passes, radioactive waste from Maine and 
Vermont will travel through the States of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, 
Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, 
Tennessee, Arkansas, and all the way across the State of Texas until it 
gets dumped into the community of Sierra Blanca and far west Texas.
  Who would want radioactive waste shipped through their district? I do 
not, and neither should my colleagues. If my colleagues are still not 
convinced, there is more. How about the fact that this site is 
earthquake prone? Supporters of H.R. 629 are so concerned about that 
that they felt it necessary to send out a ``Dear Colleague'' trying to 
explain why we should put radioactive waste there anyway.
  Or how about the fact that this waste remains active for literally 
thousands of years, low level? You decide. How will that affect the 
water table in west Texas? I do not think we need to draw a picture up 
to that one.
  If my colleagues need another reason to vote against this bill, last 
week the public affairs director of the Maine Yankee nuclear power 
reactor said, and I quote this, ``The Texas compact no longer makes 
economic sense for Maine Yankee ratepayers.''
  If the company that wants to dump its radioactive waste on the 
constituents of the district of the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla] 
does not support the compact, why should we?
  Supporters of H.R. 629 will tell us that this bill does not endorse a 
specific site in Texas. The fact is that the Texas Legislature has 
already identified Sierra Blanca as a site for this dump, and a vote 
for H.R. 629 is a vote to support this site. This is the same 
legislation that was overwhelmingly defeated in the 104th Congress. But 
here we are again, fighting again to keep this Congress from dumping on 
the people of west Texas.
  There have been reports to my office that supporters of this bill 
have said that no one lives where they want to put this dump. 
Representatives from the nuclear power districts of east Texas, 800 
miles and 14 hours from Sierra Blanca, and from the States of Vermont 
and Maine, over 2,000 miles away, are the major proponents of the dump, 
and they have erroneously claimed that citizens of Sierra Blanca 
support this compact. They do not, and neither should my colleagues.
  Supporters of this bill want to dump radioactive waste on the 
communities that are primarily populated by low-income minorities. Do 
my colleagues think we would be on this floor today debating this bill 
if the dump site were going to be at Lake Tahoe or Monterey, CA, or 
Newport, RI, or Martha's Vineyard? Of course not.
  The Hispanic Caucus is unanimous in its opposition to this bill. Last 
week, we sent a letter to the Speaker asking him to stop this bill from 
coming to this floor. Obviously, he chose not to do that. Do my 
colleagues think this bill would be on the floor if the dump were going 
to be in Marietta, GA? Obviously not.
  The Texas State Conference of the NAACP also passed a resolution in 
opposition to this compact.
  I have only been a Member of this Congress for 9 months, Mr. 
Chairman, but I know a bad bill when I see one. If my colleagues think 
it is OK to dump radioactive waste in communities where 75 percent of 
the people are Hispanic, then they should risk on voting for this bill. 
But if they agree with me that my constituents and the constituents of 
the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla] are as important as theirs and a 
life on the border is worth as much as a life away from the border, 
then they should vote on this bill. Send a message to the corporate 
CEO's who think they can dump their waste on my constituents and on the 
constituents of the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla] halfway across 
the country. And that is not OK to do that.
  I urge all my colleagues to consider those facts and vote ``no'' on 
H.R. 629.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman 
from Texas [Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson].
  (Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I am changing sides 
on this issue. I was in the Texas Senate when they debated this in 
Texas. One thing I have come to realize, we have got to identify some 
place to put this low-level waste. It is much more dangerous to have it 
scattered everywhere, behind every hospital, behind doctors' offices, 
and all over the place.
  We do not know exactly where it will be in Texas. That will be a 
Texas decision. But many local citizens have come to my office and 
pleaded to allow it to happen, because without this legislation, it is 
going on now and it can come from anywhere and everywhere. With this 
legislation, it is limited to Vermont and Maine, small States, cannot 
have too much to dump there.
  The one thing we have to understand in this country is that we 
utilize many medicines and many other elements to promote human life 
and health that are dangerous in storage. We have to store it 
somewhere, and we are trying to pick the least populous areas to store 
it.
  These areas under discussion are the least populous areas in the 
country. If I thought for a moment that it would subject local citizens 
to a worse status of health and danger than what they are now, I would 
not be standing here asking my colleagues to support this measure. I 
know that it will not.
  These will be under the most safe conditions that we can provide with

[[Page H8518]]

rules to operate. Without rules to operate, it can very well be and 
continue to be very dangerous, because when we have these in our most 
populous urban areas and we talk about environmental justice, this is 
one way that we can protect environmental justice, by picking areas and 
using just those.

                              {time}  1500

  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the 
sponsor of the bill, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton].
  (Mr. BARTON of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from 
Colorado, Mr. Dan Schaefer, for yielding me this time.
  Mr. Chairman, I want to reiterate that we are here this afternoon 
debating whether three States of the United States have the right to 
enter into an interstate compact. The Constitution of the United States 
says they have that right, the Governors of the three States say they 
have that right, the legislatures of the three States say they have 
that right, and I would point out that 41 other States of the Union 
have entered into such State compacts.
  We are not here to debate whether the site that is probably going to 
be selected in Texas is the appropriate site; we are not here to debate 
whether there are some overriding socioeconomic issues that may 
preclude this site being picked; we are simply here to say these three 
States have the same rights that all of the other States of the Union 
have.
  Governors of the State of Texas, both Democrat and Republican, 
Governor Bush, the Republican Governor today, Governor Ann Richards, 
the prior Governor, have supported this compact. It was defeated on the 
House floor in the last Congress on the suspension calendar, which is 
why we are coming today to the floor on a nonsuspension calendar.
  I do want to try to address some of the issues that have been raised 
so far in the debate. The gentleman from El Paso pointed out that 
earthquakes may be a problem. I would like to point out, if we want to 
be site-specific, that this is in an earthquake zone that has not had 
an earthquake in recorded history. There is no geological fault under 
the site, but if there is, the site has been designed to withstand an 
earthquake of a magnitude of 6.0 on the Richter scale directly under 
the site.
  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Chairman, is the gentleman aware that there have 
been two tremors in the last 4 years, and sometimes in parts of the 
country where there have not historically been earthquakes, these 
tremors can be a sign of something that is ahead?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman is correct, there 
have been tremors, but my understanding is that there have not been 
tremors in this area. Even if there were, the largest earthquake that 
has ever been recorded in Texas history is 6.4 on the Richter scale. 
This site could withstand an earthquake of 6.0 on the Richter scale 
directly under the site.
  According to the study that has been done, any seismic activity 
anywhere close to Hudspeth County has been active from 750 years to 12 
million years. The halflife radioactivity of low-level nuclear waste 
that is going to be transported and stored here is less than 100 years, 
and 85 percent of it has a halflife of less than 10 years.
  Now, the gentleman from El Paso also talked about it is in violation 
of the La Paz agreement. It is not in violation of the La Paz 
agreement. The La Paz agreement says that the United States and Mexico 
should consult on these issues. We have consulted with the national 
government and with the local governments. The EPA and the State 
Department as late as July of this year have said there is no violation 
of any international agreement in this compact that is pending before 
us today.
  There have also been concerns expressed about the facts that this has 
been located in a dominant Hispanic area. That is a true statement. The 
population of Hudspeth County is 66 percent Hispanic. I would point out 
that of the 10 sites that were considered, there were a number of them 
that had a higher ethnicity of Hispanic population. The three variables 
that were used, though, were not ethnicity. They were rainfall, this 
has the lowest rainfall; population density, this is right at one-half 
of a person per square mile, which is the second lowest density, and 
there are a total of less than 3,000 people in the county. So this has 
the lowest rainfall, one of the lowest population densities, and there 
have been no earthquakes in recorded history in this site.
  There is support for this on this site in Texas. I include for the 
Record a letter from the county judge.


                                   Hudspeth County Courthouse,

                                 Sierra Blanca, TX, July 23, 1996.
       Dear Member of Congress: We are writing to encourage you to 
     vote in favor of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste 
     Disposal Compact, H.R. 558 without amendment.
       As officials from the community nearest to the proposed 
     facility, our primary duty is to protect the health and 
     safety of our citizens and of future generations. In 
     fulfillment of this duty, we have invested substantial time 
     and effort in examining technical reports and talking with 
     state officials and others involved in identifying and 
     investigating a location for a low-level radioactive waste 
     disposal facility in our county.
       We are convinced that the facility planned for the site is 
     safe. This judgment is borne out by the ``Environmental 
     Safety Analysis'' made by the state agency in charge of 
     licensing the disposal facility in our state. That agency 
     found that the site will not ``pose an unacceptable risk to 
     the public health'' or cause ``a long-term detrimental impact 
     on the environment.''
       Far from causing problems for our community, the disposal 
     facility will bring to our area needed economic and social 
     benefits. Hudspeth County has already received grants of over 
     $2 million for the State of Texas for use in community 
     projects of our own choosing. When Congress consents to the 
     Texas Compact, the county will receive an additional $5 
     million in development funds from the states of Vermont and 
     Maine. And, when the facility begins operation, the county 
     will receive $.8 million annually from its gross revenue--
     equal to more than one-third of the county's total annual 
     budget. These funds are very much needed in our effort to 
     raise the standard of living, education, and medical care 
     system for residents of our county.
       Fundamentally, where and how to site a commercial low-level 
     radioactive waste disposal facility is a state and local 
     issue. In July of this year, the State of Texas will convene 
     a series of public hearings, several in our community, which 
     will allow any member of the public to comment and raise 
     questions about any aspect of the proposed facility and its 
     location. This is where the decision on the location and 
     safety of the disposal facility should be made--not in the 
     halls of Congress thousands of miles away from our community.
       We have heard that some members of Congress, at the urging 
     of certain advocacy groups who do not represent our 
     community, object to the location of the disposal facility 
     based on the ethnic composition and the economic status of 
     our county. We are the direct representatives of this 
     ethnically diverse and economically underdeveloped community, 
     and we are convinced that the facility will be safely built. 
     In addition, in December 1995, approximately half of the 
     adult population of Sierra Blanca signed a petition 
     supporting Congressional consent for the Texas Compact.
       By consenting to the Texas Compact, Congress will: 
     eliminate the need for two low-level radioactive waste 
     disposal sites in more populous, more humid northeast states; 
     alleviate the need to store low-level radioactive waste of 
     hundreds of generating locations in the three member states; 
     approve a facility that the most directly affected citizens 
     find both safe and beneficial; and ensure that the State of 
     Texas and its partners in the Texas Compact will be able to 
     control the amount of waste coming into a facility located in 
     our community.
       Please vote for S. 419 without amendment.
       Please contact us if you have any questions or would like 
     more information.
           Sincerely,
                                                   James A. Peace,
                                                     County Judge.

  Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Austin, Texas [Mr. Doggett], a gentleman who has been involved in this 
issue since he has arrived in Congress in the right way.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, my hometown of Austin, TX, is a mighty 
long way from Sierra Blanca, hundreds of miles, much further than 
traveling across the States of Vermont and Maine to reach this area of 
Texas. But I can tell my colleagues that there are literally thousands 
of people in central Texas that are greatly concerned about the idea 
that Texas would suddenly become the great dumping place for the 
Nation's toxic nuclear waste.
  Mr. Chairman, there has been some suggestion that this is somehow 
low-level, and therefore, no risk. Nothing could be further from the 
truth. We are not talking about just a box full of hospital gloves. 
Indeed, it has been estimated that we could take all of the

[[Page H8519]]

medical waste in this country and all of the academic-generated waste, 
and it would be about 5 ten-thousandths of the waste that is going to 
be placed in this dump. Ninety percent of it comes from nuclear 
powerplants. That is one of the reasons it is so significant that the 
Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, the largest generator of waste from 
the State of Maine, now says it is a bad idea, that it is going to cost 
the ratepayers of Maine tens of millions of dollars if this compact is 
approved.
  Indeed, the type of waste that is involved here, I do not see 
anything in the compact limiting it to a mere 100 years, as one of the 
last speakers said, although my guess is that for most folks around 
here, just 100 years of dangerous toxic radioactive nuclear waste is a 
mighty long time. In fact, it is more than a lifetime.
  But the type of waste that can be placed in this dump includes 
tritium, which has a halflife of 12 years and a hazardous life of 120 
to 240 years, and iodine 129, which has a halflife of 16 million years 
and a hazardous life of hundreds of millions of years.
  It is because of the gravity of this situation that the Austin City 
Council went on record unanimously opposed to this dump. It is the same 
thing that was done by 18 county governments in Texas and by 9 Texas 
cities. Most recently, this past weekend the Texas Conference of the 
NAACP went on record against the location of this dump, and more 
Texans, as they learn about this, are saying, do not allow Texas to 
become the Nation's dumping ground.
  Much has been said to the effect that this has nothing to do with the 
specific site. It has nothing to do with the specific site unless one 
happens to live in Sierra Blanca, because Sierra Blanca has already 
been designated. After elimination of more politically sensitive sites, 
it has been designated, after having been rejected on geological 
grounds, it has been selected as the most politically palatable place 
within the State of Texas to place this particular dump.
  There are more than a few problems at this site, and that is probably 
why it was rejected initially in the State of Texas: earthquakes, 
seepage, closeness to the Mexican border. Can my colleagues imagine 
what would happen if Mexico proposed to locate a radioactive waste dump 
16 miles from our border? There would be outrage, and there should be 
over this proposal.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Edwards], the deputy whip.
  Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Texas compact. If 
this were an issue that only affected the districts of my friend, the 
gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla] or my friend, the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Reyes], both of whom I greatly respect, then I would in no 
way want to involve myself in this fight.
  This issue is more than that. It affects the citizens, all the 
citizens, of three States in this Union: Texas, Vermont, and Maine. It 
is on behalf of those citizens that I wish to speak today.
  The fact is that 9 other compacts have passed this Congress affecting 
41 States. This is not a new issue before this Congress. Since this 
compact most directly affects those citizens in those three States, I 
think it is fair to ask the position of those States' political 
leaders. All six U.S. Senators from the three States support this 
compact, all three Governors, the vast majority of U.S. House Members 
from the three States support it.
  As a Texan I can say not only has the Texas Legislature 
overwhelmingly approved this compact in 1993, but former Governor Ann 
Richards, a Democrat, supported this compact as Governor, as well as 
her successor, Republican Governor George W. Bush.
  Mr. Chairman, I know and respect the fact that some people do not 
want any low-level nuclear waste or any waste put anywhere. In a dream 
world, frankly, that would be my position. But in the real world, as 
long as we can save Americans' lives using x rays in hospitals, and 
yes, as long as we have nuclear powerplants, there will be low-level 
nuclear waste. The question is not will we put it somewhere; the 
question is where.
  My contention is that if the State of Texas through its Governor, its 
legislature, its two U.S. Senators and a vast majority of its U.S. 
House Members support a low-level site in Texas, it seems that other 
Members of this House would at least lend weight to that position. 
Those of us who live in Texas have no intention of locating an unsafe 
depository of low-level waste in our home State. We live there. The 
fact is, this is not a free choice. If we do not pass this compact, we 
are going to have threatening waste and unsafe conditions all across 
these three States. For those reasons, I urge support of this compact.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the 
gentleman from Maine [Mr. Baldacci].
  Mr. BALDACCI. Mr. Chairman, I would like to engage in a colloquy with 
the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton], if that is all right.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to engage in a 
quality colloquy with the gentleman from Maine.
  Mr. BALDACCI. Mr. Chairman, owners of the sole nuclear plant in Maine 
this summer decided to shut it down 10 years ahead of schedule. Events 
in Maine relating to the compact have taken a dramatic and unexpected 
turn recently. I thank the gentleman for the opportunity to clarify 
some of the concerns that have been expressed.
  My first issue concerns the heightened interest in the ability of 
compact member States to responsibly dispose of low-level waste 
generated in their States before completion of the Texas facility. I 
ask the gentleman if it is his understanding and intent that pursuant 
to an agreement by the Governors of Maine, Vermont, and Texas, each 
State can continue to ship waste to sites outside of the host State 
until the Texas facility is open and accepting low-level waste?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BALDACCI. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman is correct. This 
interpretation and expectation have been articulated by the Governors 
of the three party States. It is our intent that generators in the 
gentleman's State and in any other of the compact States will be 
allowed to send low-level radioactive decommissioning waste to a non-
compact site before the host site is ready. In fact, States in other 
compacts currently ship their waste to sites outside the host State 
while the siting process continues.
  Mr. BALDACCI. I thank the gentleman for that clarification.
  My second concern relates to the disposal of oversized pieces of low-
level reradioactive waste created during the dismantling of a nuclear 
powerplant. What provisions will be made to assure that when a facility 
opens in the host State, section 4.01 of the compact will be fully 
implemented?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman will yield, I 
have been assured that the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal 
Authority will pursue the acquisition of the necessary licenses 
concurrent with the site licensing process. It is our intent that when 
the facility opens, it will be in possession of all of the licenses 
needed to operate, including those for the disposal of oversized low-
level waste.
  Mr. BALDACCI. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 629, with those 
concerns being addressed. Experience has taught us all just how 
difficult waste management issues can become, and none is more 
difficult than those involving radioactive waste.
  I would like to remind my colleagues that have been speaking in 
opposition that their State does generate this waste and their State 
does need a place to be able to place this waste. The concern that has 
been raised by Maine Yankee Power Plant has to do with the dramatic 
turn of events and whether the economies make sense, since there will 
be a closing, decommissioning, and dismantling of the plant. Maine is 
in favor of this, the elected representatives of Maine are in favor of 
this, the Governor of the State of Maine is in favor of this, and this 
is an insurance policy for the right environmental safeguards for the 
disposal of this waste.
  It is very important to understand that the compact under 
consideration contains real and significant advantages for all three 
States. With this compact, Texas will be able to limit

[[Page H8520]]

the amount of low-level radioactive waste coming into its facility from 
out-of-State sources. Maine and Vermont together produce a fraction of 
what is generated in Texas, and for Maine and Vermont, the compact 
relieves either State from the need to develop its own facility. Given 
the relatively small amount of waste produced in Maine, developing such 
a facility will be a disproportionate expense.
  These benefits are among the reasons that the compact received 
overwhelming support from the Governors and the legislatures in all 
three States. We should now act to approve H.R. 629, without 
amendments. It represents the States' best efforts linked to comply 
with a Federal mandate, an unfunded Federal mandate, not directly 
linked to the development of any specific site in Texas. It contains 
major benefits for all three States.
  I also have the letter that has been signed by all three Governors, 
Governor Bush, Governor Dean, and Governor King from Maine, and I enter 
it into the Record at this time.
                                                   State of Maine,


                                       Office of the Governor,

                                  Augusta, ME, September 22, 1997.
     Hon. George W. Bush,
     Governor, State of Texas, Austin, TX.
     Hon. Howard Dean, M.D.,
     Governor, State of Vermont, Montpelier, VT.
       Dear Governors Bush and Dean: As you know, the State of 
     Maine has been forced to review the feasibility of the Texas 
     Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact with the State 
     of Maine and Vermont (``Texas Compact'') now pending in 
     Congress. Our review has been prompted by the unexpected 
     development of the premature closing of the Maine Yankee 
     electronic generation nuclear facility located in Wiscasset, 
     Maine and the fact that the shipment of decommissioning waste 
     will commence next year, ten years prior to the timeframe 
     upon which the Compact was based.
       It continues to be the strong preference of Maine to 
     proceed with the Texas Compact as currently drafted, and to 
     fulfill our obligations under that agreement. However, these 
     unexpected developments place Maine at risk of duplicative 
     expenditures for low-level nuclear waste disposal in the 
     following three areas.
       First, we have been forced to recognize the possibility 
     that as Maine Yankee's decommissioning proceeds, the only 
     available disposal facility licensed to accept major portions 
     of the waste stream is the facility at Barnwell, South 
     Carolina, to which generations in Maine, Vermont and Texas 
     can currently send low level radioactive waste. However, upon 
     ratification of the Compact agreement, the Texas Compact 
     Commission will acquire the authority under Section 3.05(7) 
     to disapprove shipments by waste generators in any of the 
     three States to the Barnwell facility. Such an outcome could 
     impose substantial costs, unnecessarily, or Maine Yankee and 
     the Maine citizens who are paying for decommissioning.
       Second, our obligation to make payments totaling twenty-
     five million dollars to the State of Texas under Section 5.01 
     of the Compact is unconditional, as long as Maine remains a 
     member of the Compact, even if substantial portions of Maine 
     Yankee's waste stream are ultimately disposed of in South 
     Carolina. This places Maine citizens at risk of not getting 
     the benefit of their bargain with Texas and Vermont, in the 
     absence of any equitable adjustments in Maine's monetary 
     obligations under the Compact.
       Third, while the Texas facility has applied for discretion 
     in the size or form of shipments that are accepted for final 
     disposal, the proposed facility is presently unable to 
     guarantee acceptance of oversize decommissioning waste 
     components, intact or in large sections, as required under 
     Section 4.01 of the Compact pertaining to disposal of all 
     decommissioning waste in the Compact region. A failure to 
     provide disposal capacity for this portion of the 
     decommissioning waste stream in a timely manner at the Texas 
     facility could compel Maine Yankee to dispose of waste at 
     another licensed facility, causing duplicative costs.
       With these aspects of our dilemma in mind, we request the 
     following clarifications of intent, that we believe are fully 
     consistent with the intent and letter of the Compact, but 
     require affirmative action by the Texas Compact Commission to 
     implement. These include the following three items:
       1. The Compact agreement currently requires that there be 
     no discrimination in prices charged to generators in Maine 
     and Vermont compared with Texas at Section 4.04(4). It is 
     consistent to also assure that there will be no 
     discrimination between host and non-host generators regarding 
     access by Compact States to disposal facilities outside of 
     Texas. For this reason, appointees to the Texas Compact 
     Commission should endorse a principle of non-discriminatory 
     access by generators in all Compact States to disposal 
     facilities outside of Texas. It is critical to effective 
     implementation of this principle that final appointments to 
     the Compact Commission and timely review of any petition 
     under Section 3.05(7) occur as expeditiously as possible.
       2. There is a realistic risk that Maine citizens could be 
     compelled to pay twice for the disposal of Maine Yankee's 
     decommissioning waste, in the form of up-front payment of 
     construction costs for the Texas facility as well as the 
     disposal fees charged by Barnwell for actual disposal. In 
     consideration of this risk, the State of Texas agrees to 
     undertake reasonable efforts in good faith to mitigate this 
     problem in consultation with the States of Maine and Vermont. 
     Efforts to mitigate, or reduce the impact on Maine citizens 
     of up-front payments for unused disposal capacity will 
     require the consent of the Texas Compact Commission, which 
     consent will not be unreasonably withheld.
       3. In order to accommodate the projected decommissioning 
     waste stream at Maine Yankee that may occur as early as 1998, 
     the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority must 
     pursue as expeditiously as possible the licensing of all 
     disposal shipments, specifically including the disposal of 
     oversize decommissioning components. Until the Texas Natural 
     Resource Conservation Commission approves such a permit 
     application, the Texas facility will be unable to fulfill the 
     requirement established at Section 4.01 of the Compact for 
     disposal of all decommissioning waste located in the party 
     states.
       We are confident that you recognize that none of these 
     requested actions involve a change in the language of the 
     Compact, nor of the basic expectations of the three states 
     that negotiated Compact in 1993. These three points of 
     agreement merely clarify the mutual intent of the Governors 
     for implementing the Compact in a manner that assures an 
     equitable outcome for all three states.
       Thank you for your gracious consideration of these vital 
     issues for our States and our joint effort in Congress and in 
     the years to come.
           Sincerely,
                                               Angus S. King, Jr.,
                                         Governor, State of Maine.

                              {time}  1515

  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Bentsen].
  (Mr. BENTSEN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. BENTSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 629, the Texas 
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act. I believe 
this bill is vital to protecting our State from increasing amounts of 
out-of-State waste by entering into the compact.
  By ratifying this agreement, Texas will receive added protection to 
stop other States from shipping their low-level radioactive waste into 
the State. Texas will maintain complete control over the disposal site. 
Only Texas will decide whether or not another State may join in the 
compact. Upon congressional ratification, Maine and Vermont shall 
contribute a total of $25 million to Texas and another $25 million due 
when the disposal facility begins operations.
  Governor Bush, former Governor Ann Richards, and the Texas 
Legislature have overwhelmingly supported this compact. By entering 
into this compact, Texas can keep out-of-compact waste from entering 
the State. Currently 42 States have entered into these compacts to 
prevent further importation of out-of-State waste. Furthermore, this 
facility will provide for the safe disposal of radioactive materials 
from biomedical research conducted at the Nation's largest medical 
center, the Texas Medical Center in Houston, and from industrial and 
electric power generators in our State. I appreciate the concerns 
raised by the opponents, but the fact remains that something must be 
done about this waste.
  I believe it is better for Texans and, in particular, the Texas 
Legislature to determine where to store such waste and whose to accept. 
Without this legislation, Texas would lose control over both the 
interstate and intrastate transfer of low-level radioactive waste, and 
I believe that would be far worse for our State's citizens.
  Currently, my citizens live with the incineration of hazardous waste 
in their neighborhoods, and the EPA wants to increase the capacity of 
this incineration by importing PCB's from around the world. Without 
this compact, Texas could find itself in the same position as it 
relates to low-level radioactive waste, as the private sector seeks to 
import it from all over the Nation, rather than limiting the transfer 
to Maine and Vermont.
  H.R. 629 should be passed without amendments because Texas, Maine, 
and Vermont spent years negotiating mutually acceptable terms of this 
agreement. Subsequently the legislatures and Governors of all three 
States approved identical compact legislation. Any amendments would 
require the three States to begin efforts anew.
  I urge my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation.

[[Page H8521]]

  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from California [Mr. Torres].
  (Mr. TORRES asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. TORRES. Mr. Chairman, I stand today here in opposition to H.R. 
629. I simply cannot understand why we talk about various Governors of 
States, the State of Texas, its legislature, really underscoring and 
underlining and accepting what I seem to believe could be opening the 
door to further dumping. I am not sure I understand this limiting.
  First of all, I think H.R. 629 violates a 1983 La Paz agreement 
between Mexico and the United States wherein they are prohibited both 
Governments from dumping 60 miles from the border. As we see this map 
here, this waste material, radioactive, is going to come all the way 
from Maine across Vermont, New Hampshire, down to Massachusetts, to New 
York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and all the way 
across down to Tennessee through Arkansas, through the State of Texas, 
and then finally settle down here in Sierra Blanca, radioactive 
material in the vicinity of a population numbered at some 700,000 
people 20 miles from the border, from the river. This is against that 
treaty, Mr. Chairman. I do not see the sanity in opening up this kind 
of door for Texas.
  I am not from Texas, I come from California. But we have had the same 
problems there. Our State is replete with the sight of waste dumps, 
toxic landfills, incinerators, you name it, in those communities of 
less resistance. Who are those communities? Usually the communities 
where minorities live, usually the east side of town, the other side of 
the tracks. That is what we talk about when we say environmental 
justice. We need environmental justice. I think this is environmental 
injustice. If Texas allows itself to open up the door to this kind of 
prevalent danger, I do not understand the facts here.
  Why was this legislation defeated in the last session of Congress, 
the 104th Congress? I think I understand why the 104th Congress 
defeated this kind of measure. It is implicit, Mr. Chairman, as to the 
dangers, to the consequences of this.
  Supporters of this bill want to dump radioactive waste on a community 
that is primarily minorities, again, here on the border, as if we do 
not have enough problems already on the border, on the river, with the 
kind of maquiladora dumping on the river, infesting all the way down to 
Brownsville.
  Mr. Chairman, we do not need this kind of legislation. I urge my 
colleagues here to defeat it today very soundly, just like the 104th 
session of Congress did.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Vermont [Mr. Sanders].
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the 
time.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 629. Mr. Chairman, the 
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act and its 1985 amendments make 
commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal a State and not a 
Federal responsibility.
  As we have heard, all that Texas and Maine and Vermont are asking for 
today is to be treated as 9 other compacts were treated affecting 41 
States. This is not new business. We have done it 9 times, 41 States, 
and Texas, Maine, and Vermont ask us to do it today.
  Mr. Chairman, let me touch for a moment upon the environmental 
aspects of this issue. Let me address it from the perspective of 
someone who is an opponent of nuclear power, who opposes the 
construction of power plants and, if he had his way, would shut down 
the existing nuclear power plants as quickly and as safely as we could.
  One of the reasons that many of us oppose nuclear power plants is 
that when this technology was developed, there was not a lot of thought 
given as to how we dispose of the nuclear waste. Neither the industry 
nor the Government, in my view, did the right thing by allowing the 
construction of the plants and not figuring out how we get rid of the 
waste.
  But the issue we are debating here today is not that issue. The 
reality, as others have already pointed out, is that the waste is here. 
We cannot wish it away. It exists in power plants in Maine and Vermont, 
it exists in hospitals, it is here.
  The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Reyes] a few moments ago said, ``Who 
wants radioactive waste in their district?'' I guess he is right. But 
do Members know what, by going forward with the nuclear power industry, 
that is what we have. So the real environmental issue here is not to 
wish it away, but to make the judgment, the important environmental 
judgment, as to what is the safest way of disposing of the nuclear 
waste that has been created. That is the environmental challenge that 
we face.
  The strong environmental position should not be and cannot be to do 
nothing, and to put our heads in the sand and pretend that the problem 
does not exist. It would be nice if Texas had no low-level radioactive 
waste, or Vermont or Maine or any other State. That would be great. 
That is not the reality. The environmental challenge now is, given the 
reality that low-level radioactive waste exists, what is the safest way 
of disposing of that waste.
  Leaving the radioactive waste at the site where it was produced, 
despite the fact that that site may be extremely unsafe in terms of 
long-term isolation of the waste and was never intended to be a long-
term depository of low-level waste, is horrendous environmental policy. 
What sense is it to say that you have to keep the waste where it is 
now, even though that might be very environmentally damaging? That does 
not make any sense at all.
  No reputable scientist or environmentalist believes that the geology 
of Vermont or Maine would be a good place for this waste. In the humid 
climate of Vermont and Maine, it is more likely that groundwater will 
come in contact with that waste and carry off radioactive elements to 
the accessible environment.
  There is widespread scientific evidence to suggest, on the other 
hand, that locations in Texas, some of which receive less than 12 
inches of rainfall a year, a region where the groundwater table is more 
than 700 feet below the surface, is a far better location for this 
waste.
  This is not a political assertion, it is a geological and 
environmental reality. Furthermore, even if this compact is not 
approved, it is likely that Texas, which has a great deal of low-level 
radioactive waste, and we should make the point that 80 percent of the 
waste is coming from Texas, 10 percent from Vermont, 10 percent from 
Maine, the reality is that Texas will go forward with or without this 
compact in building a facility to dispose of their low-level 
radioactive waste.
  If they do not have the compact, which gives them the legal right to 
deny low-level radioactive waste from coming from anyplace else in the 
country, it seems to me they will be in worse environmental shape than 
they are right now. Right now, with the compact, they can deal with the 
constitutional issue of limiting the kinds of waste they get.
  From an environmental point of view, I urge strong support for this 
legislation.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the 
gentleman from Maine [Mr. Allen].
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to 
me.
  Mr. Chairman, I would like to begin by asking for a colloquy with the 
gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton].
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. ALLEN. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I am glad to engage in another 
quality colloquy.
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton] can 
clarify one further point, it is my understanding that if the State of 
Maine suffers negative economic consequences owing to the circumstances 
of early closure of Maine Yankee, the Governors have agreed that the 
commission will use all good faith efforts to enable Maine to have such 
damages mitigated.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding that the 
Governors of the gentleman's State and my State and Vermont have agreed 
that all reasonable good faith efforts would be executed by the State 
of Texas and the commission, if any such damages occur, to assist Maine 
in achieving such mitigation.

[[Page H8522]]

  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Chairman, I want to say a couple of things. First of all, there 
is broad support within the State of Maine for this particular compact. 
In our State, not only has the Governor supported it, supported the 
compact and does support it; not only has it passed the State 
legislature; but it has passed a statewide referendum. People in Maine 
support this particular compact, even though, of course, as always, 
there is some opposition.
  Mr. Chairman, we have been working for years to get to this 
particular point. Several speakers before me have mentioned Maine 
Yankee. Maine Yankee is in an unusual circumstance. Just recently, 
Maine Yankee closed down 10 years ahead of schedule. The President of 
Maine Yankee would not be doing his job if he did not look at the 
economic consequences and say, there may be some risks here that we did 
not anticipate.
  There were some risks. The most important risk was this. What if the 
Texas facility is not built and not on line and not ready for Maine's 
decommissioning waste of Maine Yankee, and yet we cannot send it to 
Barnwell, SC, which is the only other site?
  I believe, as a result of conversations with the Governor's office 
and with Maine Yankee and others over the last few days, that that risk 
is mitigated, and it is mitigated in particular by the undertaking of 
the Governors of the three States to work in good faith to solve those 
particular problems if and when they arise.

                              {time}  1530

  So I believe, I am convinced, that now the costs of this compact are 
in line with the costs of disposal of this waste in Barnwell, SC.
  Let me say this. The gentleman from Vermont early on said there are 
two issues here. One is process. This has the broad support of people 
in Texas, Vermont, and Maine. But second, it makes good environmental 
policy. This is good environmental sense.
  We cannot wish away low-level radioactive waste. It has to go 
somewhere. If it does not go somewhere and if it is not stored in a 
safe, secure site, then it is going to be distributed all over this 
country.
  As a country, as we think about how we deal with low-level 
radioactive waste, and this is low-level, this is not spent nuclear 
fuel rods, this is low-level waste, we need to figure out how to 
dispose of it. We need to look for places where the geology is right, 
where the hydrology is right, where the population is sparse.
  And although I am not involved in the choice of a particular site in 
Texas, I know that Maine has hydrological and geological problems that 
would make it a problem in our State.
  It is vital as we go forward that there not be one site at Barnwell, 
SC, to deposit low-level radioactive waste. We need to have two. It 
makes good economic sense, and it makes good, sound environmental 
policy.
  So I would close simply by saying that I urge all of my colleagues to 
support this bill. It makes sense for people in Maine, Vermont, and 
Texas, and around the country.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Texas, Mr. Sam Johnson.
  Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out 
that this property is State-owned property. We had a big discussion 
about that when I was in the State legislature. I know that the 
gentleman from Texas [Mr. Green] remembers that. And it was picked 
because of its location and because it was State-owned.
  Mr. Chairman, after 30 years, 85 percent of the waste is 
nonradioactive. That is what we are talking about. We are talking about 
low-level waste. We are not talking about high-level waste.
  The specific site is limited to 30 years, this place. And I would say 
to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Reyes] that at that location it takes 
20,000 to 40,000 years for anything to seep down to the Rio Grande.
  Also, I would ask the question about my colleague from California who 
has a compact but does not want this one. His State has got a compact 
with North Dakota, South Dakota, and Arizona. The gentleman had a big, 
long line that said transportation is a big problem. Guess what? 
California has not gotten their site ready yet, so where are they 
sending their waste? South Carolina, all the way across the country. If 
transportation is a problem, then California has got it.
  Mr. Chairman, I would tell my colleagues, transportation is not a 
problem. Transportation has an excellent safety record for 
transportation of commercial low-level waste. During the last 20 years, 
there have only been four minor accidents and never been a 
radiologically related injury or death associated with a transportation 
accident of such waste.
  For the past 20 years, they have been transporting this waste to 
South Carolina. Licensing, inspection, and enforcement regulations from 
the Federal Government ensure that transportation requirements are met. 
All waste coming into Texas is going to be dry, solid form, and they 
are going to have a tracking system to track the waste from the source 
of generation through disposal, accounting accurately for each part of 
it.
  So I would suggest to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett], if he 
does not want Texas to have a compact, then any State can ship waste to 
Texas.
  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  [Mr. BONILLA asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.]
  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Chairman, years ago when the country first started 
learning about toxic waste, nuclear waste, radioactive waste, there 
were jokes that kind of circulated around the country that if one 
visited a nuclear plant or grew up in an area like Three Mile Island, 
people would chuckle and say, ``Do you glow in the dark?''
  Mr. Chairman, I can assure my colleagues that while that was a joke 
in some other communities, this is no laughing matter for the 
constituents that I represent in west Texas. Imagine, just because they 
happen to live in a rural area, why would they have any less right to 
having a safe environment than somebody who grew up in downtown New 
York? Just because they chose a quiet area where they want to get away 
from all of that other stuff, and suddenly they wake up one day and the 
school bus that their kid is riding in down the highway passes a 
nuclear waste dump site, and they suddenly wonder every day if their 
child going to become infected or contaminated by some of the waste 
going through the system and through the water supplies possibly if 
something goes wrong. There is a possibility.
  The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton] points out that there has never 
been an earthquake in this area. But there have been tremors. There has 
been movement in the ground that makes the residents out there shake in 
their boots at the prospect that something might happen.
  Mr. Chairman, I ask my colleagues to put themselves in their shoes. 
Imagine if they were sending their child to school every day wondering, 
``Did I make the right decision in settling in this area?''
  Would they ever think the day would come as an American that their 
constitutional rights to be heard about something that is going to be 
built in their backyard might be violated and they would not, as an 
American, have any say as to whether or not this dump was going to be 
constructed in their very own backyard?
  Mr. Chairman, I have got at least 12 county commissioners, courts, 
local governments, who have written me and spoken to me very strongly 
about their opposition to this dump being created in their backyard, 
people like county judge Jake Brisbin in Presidio and former mayor 
Alfredo Gutierrez in Del Rio who were concerned about this issue.
  People talk about the La Paz agreement with Mexico. Sometimes we 
think that we hold the upper hand with our neighbors to the south on 
environmental issues. But the thing we have to ask ourselves is when 
the Speaker of the House, as he has in the right way, sat down with the 
President of Mexico and said, ``Do not build those Carbon 1 and Carbon 
2 burning plants near the border because they will pollute our air. Why 
don't you put scrubbers on the facility?'' And the Mexican Government 
will not do it. And now, in turn, they are asking us not to build a 
low-level radioactive waste site nearing the

[[Page H8523]]

Mexican border because it could threaten their country as well.
  Mr. Chairman, we have to learn to coexist along the border and comply 
with the La Paz agreement so that we do not have threats that exist to 
people on either side of the border.
  For those of my colleagues who think that this compact affects only 
Texas, Maine, and Vermont, I have a map. The gentleman from California 
[Mr. Torres] pointed out one route that the waste could take coming 
down here. But whether it takes a route that the gentleman pointed out 
that comes through the middle of the country, or whether it took a 
detour and went through Chicago, maybe Iowa or Nebraska or 
another detour throughout the South like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, 
there are many different superhighways that exist in this area, and 
this stuff could be coming through the neighborhoods of my colleagues.

  One of my friends pointed out earlier as well that there may be only 
20 percent of this radioactive waste which is, in fact, radioactive. 
Mr. Chairman, I would ask my colleagues, if they had to drink the water 
in their house and they knew that only 20 percent of the liquid in that 
glass was radioactive, would they drink it? Is that not enough to scare 
them to death about how this could affect the future of the children 
growing up in their community?
  I ask all of my colleagues, when they think about all those funny 
things that were said over the years about glowing in the dark, it is 
not just the people in Texas who are going to be suffering from this. 
If my colleagues live in any of these States enroute here in moving 
that waste though the country and down to west Texas, they have to ask 
themselves the same question.
  If there is a truck accident or train accident or something happens 
along the way and suddenly just 20 percent of that load spills in their 
community, what are they going to say to their people when they have to 
come back and explain to them, ``Yes, I approved that radioactive 
facility down in Texas, but I never thought the stuff would be coming 
through my town? ''
  Well, Mr. Chairman, how about if it does? What are my colleagues 
going to say when there is an accident? This is not just a case of my 
people glowing in the dark in the future if there is an accident. I ask 
Members to think about it. It could be their people, too.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas [Mr. Green].
  (Mr. GREEN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. GREEN. Mr. Chairman, let me briefly respond to the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Bonilla] in talking about glowing in the dark. I think that 
is raising questions that really are not the issue, because right now 
in our hospitals, in portable buildings in our hospitals, in the 
ceilings of our hospital, they are storing that.
  So, it is not as the gentleman is trying to allege, that this is 
glowing in the dark. We are talking about low-level waste that is 
already being stored in urban areas, not in safe, contained areas like 
is contemplated for west Texas.
  Mr. Chairman, let me talk about the transportation issue. There is 
more dangerous cargo now on Interstate 10 that goes through the 
gentleman's district, and not too far, than ever will be considered in 
low-level waste. There are more volatile chemicals flowing down 
Interstate 10 from El Paso to San Antonio than will ever be in there.
  Mr. Chairman, let me address the La Paz issue a little bit. Let me 
quote from Reuters News. Alejandro Calvillo, an officer of Greenpeace 
Mexico, is quoted as saying that, ``Mexico's National Water Commission 
and Nuclear Safeguard Commission recently concluded that the dump posed 
no health hazard for Mexico.'' That was Reuters, September 5, 1996.
  Mr. Chairman, another quote regarding the La Paz agreement. The Texas 
facility promotes another purpose of the La Paz agreement to ``prevent, 
reduce and eliminate sources of pollution'' because it is properly 
engineered and environmentally sound.
  Mr. Chairman, that is why this provision is a good place to do it. 
The Federal Government, Congress, allowed in 1985 for the interstate 
compact. Texas, Maine, and Vermont agreed to do it. The legislature in 
Texas, and I know because I served there up until 1991, agreed to this 
compact. In 1993, they agreed, after a great deal of studies, to have 
the siting.
  The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla] talked about all those local 
elected officials that are contacting him. Maybe they ought to call 
their State representatives and senators and the Governor's office, 
because those are the people who made that decision to go to his 
county. We always believe that decisions are made best that are made 
locally. This was a local decision and not on the floor of this 
Congress.
  Mr. Chairman, that is why it is important. If we do not pass this 
bill and that site opens, the constituents of the gentleman out there 
will have waste from all over the country coming to this site. Maybe 
instead of the gentleman from California [Mr. Torres] shipping his 
wastes from California to South Carolina, perhaps they will be able to 
stop halfway and leave it in the gentleman's district in west Texas. I 
am sure they will be able to make a deal with them.
  That is what is so important about this bill. It allows a compact for 
a number of States to participate and allows Texas to say, we are the 
biggest State in the compact, we have to have a place to put our low-
level waste that we are now warehousing on site.
  Mr. Chairman, we need to pass this bill, H.R. 629, today to make sure 
we can do that. That is why I urge an ``aye'' vote for this bill.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I thank all my colleagues for their input here. We are 
along toward the end of a long, hard trail, and a lot of these 
arguments that are being made are good arguments. I can understand them 
and understand where they are coming from. They are less legal 
arguments than they are emotional arguments.
  I even respect these Members who have come to the aid of a colleague. 
I respect the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla], who has done a good 
job with this situation in that he came in late. When this first 
transpired, the gentleman was not the Congressman from that area. He 
has done a good job since becoming their Congressman and representing 
them and setting his best foot forward.

                              {time}  1545

  All of this is late. Most of this happened before the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Bonilla] got to be the Congressman for the area that they 
have designated. These arguments should have been made before the TNRCC 
and before all the community hearings. They should have been made 
before the town hall meetings. Even the recent colloquy between the 
Governors that gave the option for input from people who had an 
interest, there has been all the input in the world into this. There 
has been opportunity for everyone to be heard. I think everyone has 
been heard from the three States today.
  I think this low-level radioactive waste policy act is a very good 
example of State and Federal cooperation. This compact fulfills the 
Congress' side of the bargain. This is just the part we have to do. The 
States have already done their part. Other States have their compacts. 
I think 40 other States have them. In 1980 and again in 1985, Congress 
enacted legislation that set up a program under which States would have 
primary responsibility and primary control over the disposal of low-
level radioactive waste. This is what the States wanted. This is what 
they asked for. This is what they were entitled to.
  It makes sense because so many important local activities depend on 
having safe and ready disposal of low-level waste. While this issue is 
often discussed in terms of utilities' needs for disposal facilities, 
let me tell my colleagues, it also concerns hospitals, university 
research programs. It concerns industries across the State of Texas and 
across this Nation, industries that spawn jobs, and jobs spawn dignity; 
industry and jobs in the area where this site is, where substantial 
amounts have been spent.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to pass this. I will not pretend 
that finding the site has been easy or is easy or that all the 
questions about how to

[[Page H8524]]

build the right facility are known. These are questions that have to be 
resolved in the course of obtaining a license to operate the facility 
and cannot be settled by us.
  The Texas compact meets the law's requirements. It is needed by the 
people of these three States. I strongly urge that we support it. We 
ought to encourage States to conform with Federal policy, which is 
exactly what Texas, Maine, and Vermont have done by entering into this 
compact. I urge Members' support of these States' actions by voting for 
H.R. 629.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I yield the balance of my 
time to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton].
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton] is recognized for 
8\1/2\ minutes.
  (Mr. BARTON of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, we have heard quite a bit of 
emotion this afternoon on the floor about the issue generically of 
nuclear waste and specifically low-level nuclear waste. We have heard 
the concerns about transporting the waste. We have heard the concerns 
about storing the waste. We have heard the concerns about possibly 
seeing some of the waste get into the water table because of an 
earthquake.
  Let us reverse that as we close the argument. We do not live in a 
zero risk environment. Every day thousands of Americans are diagnosed 
with cancer. If we do not have a way to dispose of the radiation 
treatments that are used to treat colon cancer, they are not going to 
be treated and those people are going to die. If we do not have a way 
to diagnose if somebody has some sort of a defect that is treated by 
diagnostic piece of equipment like an x ray or radionuclide that they 
put into the bloodstream, those people will not know that they have 
that medical disability and they, too, will develop the disease and 
they will die.
  The fact of the matter is that we need disposal sites for low-level 
radioactive nuclear waste. That is a fact. We want to protect human 
life. We want to do everything we can to give people a quality of human 
life. Forty-one States currently have developed compacts with other 
States. Three States today want the same right that those 41 other 
States have today, Vermont, Texas, and Maine.
  If we want to talk about the transportation problem, almost all of 
the waste that is going to be stored in Texas is going to be generated 
in Texas. Less than 50 truckloads a year, less than 1 per week, is 
going to be transshipped from Maine or Vermont. As the gentleman from 
Texas, [Mr. Sam Johnson] pointed out, in the almost 30 years that we 
have tracked the transportation of low-level nuclear waste around this 
country, there have only been four accidents, only four accidents, and 
there has not been one reported injury from those four accidents. That 
is an important issue but it is in no way a determinative issue.
  We simply need to accept the reality that States under the law and 
under the Constitution have the right to enter into a compact. This 
particular compact is between Texas, Vermont, and Maine. The Governors 
have supported it on a bipartisan basis, the legislatures of all three 
States have supported it on a bipartisan basis, and we should support 
it on a bipartisan basis.
  When we come to the rollcall vote in the next 5 minutes, vote 
``yes.'' The concerns that have been expressed by the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Bonilla], who represents the district, which are very valid 
concerns, can be addressed if they need to be addressed between the 
Texas Legislature and the executive branch, the Texas Natural Resource 
Commission that has responsibility for regulating environmental issues 
in the State of Texas.
  There are some issues that need to be addressed. This is not the time 
and this is not the place. Vote ``yes'' on the compact. Give our States 
the same right that 41 other States have under the law today. I 
compliment the distinguished chairman of the subcommittee and 
compliment him for his leadership on this issue.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I will just remind the 
committee that this, after study, passed not only the subcommittee but 
the full committee by unanimous vote, voice vote, and I would ask 
support of the bill.
  Mr. ARCHER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the low-level 
radioactive waste compact between the States of Texas, Maine, and 
Vermont. The compact makes sense from both an economic and an 
environmental perspective. This country needs to adopt responsible 
policies for the safe and effective disposal of waste; this compact is 
a step in that direction, as the 3 States have fulfilled the mandate of 
Congress.
  The 1980 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act and its 1985 
amendments make each State ``responsible for providing, either by 
itself or in cooperation with other States,'' for disposal of its own 
commercial low-level radioactive waste. In compliance with this Federal 
legislation, the States of Texas, Maine, and Vermont have arranged to 
manage their waste through the terms of the Texas compact. This compact 
passed the legislatures of the States involved and is supported by 
Governors Bush of Texas, Dean of Vermont, and King of Maine. It also 
has the support of our own Commerce Committee which passed this bill 
out of committee unanimously. Texas, Maine, and Vermont have complied 
with all Federal and State laws and regulations in forming this 
compact. For the Congress to deny ratification of the Texas compact 
would be a serious breach of States rights and a rejection of Congress' 
previous mandate to the States.
  Opponents of the compact object to the proposed site of the disposal 
facility in Hudspeth County. The bill before us, however, does not 
designate a site. A vote for H.R. 629 is neither a vote to endorse nor 
oppose the proposed site in Texas. Federal legislation leaves the 
siting of a facility to State governments and should be resolved during 
the formal licensing proceedings. Currently, the Texas Natural 
Resources Conservation Commission is conducting the appropriate public 
hearings.
  Mr. Chairman, Congress should not stifle the responsible efforts of 
these three States by rejecting a course of action Congress encouraged 
in the first place. I urge my colleagues to vote to supply the member 
States of the Texas Compact with the same protections we have already 
given 42 States in the nine previously approved compacts. Vote ``yes'' 
on H.R. 629.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I rise to offer thoughts on 
H.R. 629, the Texas low-level radioactive waste disposal compact. This 
agreement will allow the States of Texas, Maine, and Vermont to enter 
into an agreement to dispose of low-level radioactive waste produced in 
their States.
  The congressional consideration of this bill will allow a contractual 
agreement to be developed by Texas, Maine, and Vermont for the 
cooperative resolution of the problem of disposing of low-level 
radioactive waste.
  The Commerce clause found in article I, section 8, clause 3 of the 
U.S. Constitution provides that Congress--not the States--has the power 
to regulate commerce among States. This clause has been interpreted by 
the courts to restrict a State's ability to regulate in a manner that 
would impermissible burden or discriminate against interstate commerce.
  Under this law, without the compact's protection, the site if opened 
in Texas would be forced to take low-level radioactive waste from all 
50 States.
  Through legislative action in 1980 and 1985, the Congress encouraged 
States to form compacts to provide for new low-level radioactive waste 
disposal. Since 1985, 9 interstate low-level radioactive waste compacts 
have been approved by Congress, encompassing 41 States.
  All radioactive materials lose radioactivity at predictable rates. 
Therefore, agreements are necessary for the proper disposal and storage 
of low-level radioactive waste until it reaches harmless levels at the 
end of 100 years.
  This compact would not designate a particular site, but only the 
agreement among the participating States for the development of low-
level radioactive facility.
  My position on any site location, which I have expressed in the past, 
is that public hearings must, and should be, part of the process in 
order to give concerned citizens an opportunity to express their views 
on the site.
  Before any final decision of location is made these hearings should 
allow for proper comment and evaluation of those comments to take 
place. It is my understanding that the Texas State planners are 
committed to as public a process as possible.
  The Texas compact specifies that commercial low-level radioactive 
waste

[[Page H8525]]

generated in the party States of Texas, Maine, and Vermont will be 
accepted at the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility. 
Low-level radioactive waste is defined the same way as the Low-Level 
Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985, Public Law 99-240.
  Commerce low-level radioactive waste typically consists of wastes 
from operations and decommissioning of nuclear power plants, hospitals, 
research laboratories, industries, and universities. Typical low-level 
radioactive waste is trashlike materials consisting of metals, paper, 
plastics, and construction materials that are contaminated with low-
levels of radioactive materials.
  A compact is a serious matter, and a compact regarding the disposal 
or storage of low-level radioactive waste is extremely important. This 
compact will be managed by the participating States and especially by 
the State of Texas with the greatest care and professionalism possible.
  I urge my colleagues to support this compact.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance 
of my time.
  The CHAIRMAN. All time for general debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the bill will be considered under the 5-minute 
rule by section, and each section shall be considered as having been 
read.
  During consideration of the bill for amendment, the Chair will accord 
priority in recognition to a Member offering an amendment that he has 
printed in the designated place in the Congressional Record. Those 
amendments will be considered as having been read.
  The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole may postpone a request for 
a recorded vote on any amendment and may reduce to a minimum of 5 
minutes the time for voting on any proposed question that immediately 
follows another vote, provided the time for voting on the first 
question shall be a minimum of 15 minutes.
  The Clerk will designate section 1.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent 
that the bill be considered as read, printed in the Record, and open to 
amendment at any point.
  The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from 
Colorado?
  There was no objection.
  The text of H.R. 629 is as follows:

                                H.R. 629

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Texas Low-Level Radioactive 
     Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act''.

     SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDING.

       The Congress finds that the compact set forth in section 5 
     is in furtherance of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy 
     Act (42 U.S.C. 2021b et seq.).

     SEC. 3. CONDITIONS OF CONSENT TO COMPACT.

       The consent of the Congress to the compact set forth in 
     section 5--
       (1) shall become effective on the date of the enactment of 
     this Act;
       (2) is granted subject to the provisions of the Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 2021b et seq.); and
       (3) is granted only for so long as the regional commission 
     established in the compact complies with all of the 
     provisions of such Act.

     SEC. 4. CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW.

       The Congress may alter, amend, or repeal this Act with 
     respect to the compact set forth in section 5 after the 
     expiration of the 10-year period following the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, and at such intervals thereafter as 
     may be provided in such compact.

     SEC. 5. TEXAS LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL COMPACT.

       In accordance with section 4(a)(2) of the Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 2021d(a)(2)), the 
     consent of the Congress is given to the States of Texas, 
     Maine, and Vermont to enter into the Texas Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact. Such compact is 
     substantially as follows:


          ``TEXAS LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL COMPACT

                    ``ARTICLE I. POLICY AND PURPOSE

       ``Sec. 1.01. The party states recognize a responsibility 
     for each state to seek to manage low-level radioactive waste 
     generated within its boundaries, pursuant to the Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste Policy Act, as amended by the Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 (42 U.S.C. 
     2021b-2021j). They also recognize that the United States 
     Congress, by enacting the Act, has authorized and encouraged 
     states to enter into compacts for the efficient management 
     and disposal of low-level radioactive waste. It is the policy 
     of the party states to cooperate in the protection of the 
     health, safety, and welfare of their citizens and the 
     environment and to provide for and encourage the economical 
     management and disposal of low-level radioactive waste. It is 
     the purpose of this compact to provide the framework for such 
     a cooperative effort; to promote the health, safety, and 
     welfare of the citizens and the environment of the party 
     states; to limit the number of facilities needed to 
     effectively, efficiently, and economically manage low-
     level radioactive waste and to encourage the reduction of 
     the generation thereof; and to distribute the costs, 
     benefits, and obligations among the party states; all in 
     accordance with the terms of this compact.


                       ``ARTICLE II. DEFINITIONS

       ``Sec. 2.01. As used in this compact, unless the context 
     clearly indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply:
       ``(1) `Act' means the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy 
     Act, as amended by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy 
     Amendments Act of 1985 (42 U.S.C. 2021b-2021j).
       ``(2) `Commission' means the Texas Low-Level Radioactive 
     Waste Disposal Compact Commission established in Article III 
     of this compact.
       ``(3) `Compact facility' or `facility' means any site, 
     location, structure, or property located in and provided by 
     the host state for the purpose of management or disposal of 
     low-level radioactive waste for which the party states are 
     responsible.
       ``(4) `Disposal' means the permanent isolation of low-level 
     radioactive waste pursuant to requirements established by the 
     United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the United 
     States Environmental Protection Agency under applicable laws, 
     or by the host state.
       ``(5) `Generate,' when used in relation to low-level 
     radioactive waste, means to produce low-level radioactive 
     waste.
       ``(6) `Generator' means a person who produces or processes 
     low-level radioactive waste in the course of its activities, 
     excluding persons who arrange for the collection, 
     transportation, management, treatment, storage, or disposal 
     of waste generated outside the party states, unless approved 
     by the commission.
       ``(7) `Host county' means a county in the host state in 
     which a disposal facility is located or is being developed.
       ``(8) `Host state' means a party state in which a compact 
     facility is located or is being developed. The State of Texas 
     is the host state under this compact.
       ``(9) `Institutional control period' means that period of 
     time following closure of the facility and transfer of the 
     facility license from the operator to the custodial agency in 
     compliance with the appropriate regulations for long-term 
     observation and maintenance.
       ``(10) `Low-level radioactive waste' has the same meaning 
     as that term is defined in Section 2(9) of the Act (42 U.S.C. 
     2021b(9)), or in the host state statute so long as the waste 
     is not incompatible with management and disposal at the 
     compact facility.
       ``(11) `Management' means collection, consolidation, 
     storage, packaging, or treatment.
       ``(12) `Operator' means a person who operates a disposal 
     facility.
       ``(13) `Party state' means any state that has become a 
     party in accordance with Article VII of this compact. Texas, 
     Maine, and Vermont are initial party states under this 
     compact.
       ``(14) `Person' means an individual, corporation, 
     partnership or other legal entity, whether public or private.
       ``(15) `Transporter' means a person who transports low-
     level radioactive waste.


                     ``ARTICLE III. THE COMMISSION

       ``Sec. 3.01. There is hereby established the Texas Low-
     Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission. The 
     commission shall consist of one voting member from each party 
     state except that the host state shall be entitled to six 
     voting members. Commission members shall be appointed by the 
     party state governors, as provided by the laws of each party 
     state. Each party state may provide alternates for each 
     appointed member.
       ``Sec. 3.02. A quorum of the commission consists of a 
     majority of the members. Except as otherwise provided in this 
     compact, an official act of the commission must receive the 
     affirmative vote of a majority of its members.
       ``Sec. 3.03. The commission is a legal entity separate and 
     distinct from the party states and has governmental immunity 
     to the same extent as an entity created under the authority 
     of Article XVI, Section 59, of the Texas Constitution. 
     Members of the commission shall not be personally liable for 
     actions taken in their official capacity. The liabilities of 
     the commission shall not be deemed liabilities of the party 
     states.
       ``Sec. 3.04. The commission shall:
       ``(1) Compensate its members according to the host state's 
     law.
       ``(2) Conduct its business, hold meetings, and maintain 
     public records pursuant to laws of the host state, except 
     that notice of public meetings shall be given in the non-host 
     party states in accordance with their respective statutes.
       ``(3) Be located in the capital city of the host state.
       ``(4) Meet at least once a year and upon the call of the 
     chair, or any member. The governor of the host state shall 
     appoint a chair and vice-chair.
       ``(5) Keep an accurate account of all receipts and 
     disbursements. An annual audit of

[[Page H8526]]

     the books of the commission shall be conducted by an 
     independent certified public accountant, and the audit report 
     shall be made a part of the annual report of the commission.
       ``(6) Approve a budget each year and establish a fiscal 
     year that conforms to the fiscal year of the host state.
       ``(7) Prepare, adopt, and implement contingency plans for 
     the disposal and management of low-level radioactive waste in 
     the event that the compact facility should be closed. Any 
     plan which requires the host state to store or otherwise 
     manage the low-level radioactive waste from all the party 
     states must be approved by at least four host state members 
     of the commission. The commission, in a contingency plan or 
     otherwise, may not require a non-host party state to store 
     low-level radioactive waste generated outside of the state.
       ``(8) Submit communications to the governors and to the 
     presiding officers of the legislatures of the party states 
     regarding the activities of the commission, including an 
     annual report to be submitted on or before January 31 of each 
     year.
       ``(9) Assemble and make available to the party states, and 
     to the public, information concerning low-level radioactive 
     waste management needs, technologies, and problems.
       ``(10) Keep a current inventory of all generators within 
     the party states, based upon information provided by the 
     party states.
       ``(11) By no later than 180 days after all members of the 
     commission are appointed under Section 3.01 of this article, 
     establish by rule the total volume of low-level radioactive 
     waste that the host state will dispose of in the compact 
     facility in the years 1995-2045, including decommissioning 
     waste. The shipments of low-level radioactive waste from all 
     non-host party states shall not exceed 20 percent of the 
     volume estimated to be disposed of by the host state during 
     the 50-year period. When averaged over such 50-year period, 
     the total of all shipments from non-host party states shall 
     not exceed 20,000 cubic feet a year. The commission shall 
     coordinate the volumes, timing, and frequency of shipments 
     from generators in the non-host party states in order to 
     assure that over the life of this agreement shipments from 
     the non-host party states do not exceed 20 percent of the 
     volume projected by the commission under this paragraph.
       ``Sec. 3.05. The commission may:
       ``(1) Employ staff necessary to carry out its duties and 
     functions. The commission is authorized to use to the extent 
     practicable the services of existing employees of the party 
     states. Compensation shall be as determined by the 
     commission.
       ``(2) Accept any grants, equipment, supplies, materials, or 
     services, conditional or otherwise, from the federal or state 
     government. The nature, amount and condition, if any, of any 
     donation, grant or other resources accepted pursuant to this 
     paragraph and the identity of the donor or grantor shall be 
     detailed in the annual report of the commission.
       ``(3) Enter into contracts to carry out its duties and 
     authority, subject to projected resources. No contract made 
     by the commission shall bind a party state.
       ``(4) Adopt, by a majority vote, bylaws and rules necessary 
     to carry out the terms of this compact. Any rules promulgated 
     by the commission shall be adopted in accordance with the 
     Administrative Procedure and Texas Register Act (Article 
     6252-13a, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes).
       ``(5) Sue and be sued and, when authorized by a majority 
     vote of the members, seek to intervene in administrative or 
     judicial proceedings related to this compact.
       ``(6) Enter into an agreement with any person, state, 
     regional body, or group of states for the importation of low-
     level radioactive waste into the compact for management or 
     disposal, provided that the agreement receives a majority 
     vote of the commission. The commission may adopt such 
     conditions and restrictions in the agreement as it deems 
     advisable.
       ``(7) Upon petition, allow an individual generator, a group 
     of generators, or the host state of the compact, to export 
     low-level waste to a low-level radioactive waste disposal 
     facility located outside the party states. The commission may 
     approve the petition only by a majority vote of its members. 
     The permission to export low-level radioactive waste shall be 
     effective for that period of time and for the specified 
     amount of low-level radioactive waste, and subject to any 
     other term or condition, as is determined by the commission.
       ``(8) Monitor the exportation outside of the party states 
     of material, which otherwise meets the criteria of low-level 
     radioactive waste, where the sole purpose of the exportation 
     is to manage or process the material for recycling or waste 
     reduction and return it to the party states for disposal in 
     the compact facility.
       ``Sec. 3.06. Jurisdiction and venue of any action 
     contesting any action of the commission shall be in the 
     United States District Court in the district where the 
     commission maintains its office.


``ARTICLE IV. RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND OBLIGATIONS OF PARTY STATES

       ``Sec. 4.01. The host state shall develop and have full 
     administrative control over the development, management and 
     operation of a facility for the disposal of low-level 
     radioactive waste generated within the party states. The host 
     state shall be entitled to unlimited use of the facility over 
     its operating life. Use of the facility by the non-host party 
     states for disposal of low-level radioactive waste, including 
     such waste resulting from decommissioning of any nuclear 
     electric generation facilities located in the party states, 
     is limited to the volume requirements of Section 3.04(11) of 
     Article III.
       ``Sec. 4.02. Low-level radioactive waste generated within 
     the party states shall be disposed of only at the compact 
     facility, except as provided in Section 3.05(7) of Article 
     III.
       ``Sec. 4.03. The initial states of this compact cannot be 
     members of another low-level radioactive waste compact 
     entered into pursuant to the Act.
       ``Sec. 4.04. The host state shall do the following:
       ``(1) Cause a facility to be developed in a timely manner 
     and operated and maintained through the institutional control 
     period.
       ``(2) Ensure, consistent with any applicable federal and 
     host state laws, the protection and preservation of the 
     environment and the public health and safety in the siting, 
     design, development, licensing, regulation, operation, 
     closure, decommissioning, and long-term care of the disposal 
     facilities within the host state.
       ``(3) Close the facility when reasonably necessary to 
     protect the public health and safety of its citizens or to 
     protect its natural resources from harm. However, the host 
     state shall notify the commission of the closure within three 
     days of its action and shall, within 30 working days of its 
     action, provide a written explanation to the commission of 
     the closure, and implement any adopted contingency plan.
       ``(4) Establish reasonable fees for disposal at the 
     facility of low-level radioactive waste generated in the 
     party states based on disposal fee criteria set out in 
     Sections 402.272 and 402.273, Texas Health and Safety Code. 
     The same fees shall be charged for the disposal of low-level 
     radioactive waste that was generated in the host state and 
     in the non-host party states. Fees shall also be 
     sufficient to reasonably support the activities of the 
     Commission.
       ``(5) Submit an annual report to the commission on the 
     status of the facility, including projections of the 
     facility's anticipated future capacity, and on the related 
     funds.
       ``(6) Notify the Commission immediately upon the occurrence 
     of any event which could cause a possible temporary or 
     permanent closure of the facility and identify all reasonable 
     options for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste at 
     alternate compact facilities or, by arrangement and 
     Commission vote, at noncompact facilities.
       ``(7) Promptly notify the other party states of any legal 
     action involving the facility.
       ``(8) Identify and regulate, in accordance with federal and 
     host state law, the means and routes of transportation of 
     low-level radioactive waste in the host state.
       ``Sec. 4.05. Each party state shall do the following:
       ``(1) Develop and enforce procedures requiring low-level 
     radioactive waste shipments originating within its borders 
     and destined for the facility to conform to packaging, 
     processing, and waste from specifications of the host state.
       ``(2) Maintain a registry of all generators within the 
     state that may have low-level radioactive waste to be 
     disposed of at a facility, including, but not limited to, the 
     amount of low-level radioactive waste and the class of low-
     level radioactive waste generated by each generator.
       ``(3) Develop and enforce procedures requiring generators 
     within its borders to minimize the volume of low-level 
     radioactive waste requiring disposal. Nothing in this compact 
     shall prohibit the storage, treatment, or management of waste 
     by a generator.
       ``(4) Provide the commission with any data and information 
     necessary for the implementation of the commission's 
     responsibilities, including taking those actions necessary to 
     obtain this data or information.
       ``(5) Pay for community assistance projects designated by 
     the host county in an amount for each non-host party state 
     equal to 10 percent of the payment provided for in Article V 
     for each such state. One-half of the payment shall be due and 
     payable to the host county on the first day of the month 
     following ratification of this compact agreement by Congress 
     and one-half of the payment shall be due and payable on the 
     first day of the month following the approval of a facility 
     operating license by the host state's regulatory body.
       ``(6) Provide financial support for the commission's 
     activities prior to the date of facility operation and 
     subsequent to the date of congressional ratification of this 
     compact under Section 7.07 of Article VII. Each party state 
     will be responsible for annual payments equalling its pro-
     rata share of the commission's expenses, incurred for 
     administrative, legal, and other purposes of the commission.
       ``(7) If agreed by all parties to a dispute, submit the 
     dispute to arbitration or other alternate dispute resolution 
     process. If arbitration is agreed upon, the governor of each 
     party state shall appoint an arbitrator. If the number of 
     party states is an even number, the arbitrators so chosen 
     shall appoint an additional arbitrator. The determination of 
     a majority of the arbitrators shall be binding on the 
     party states. Arbitration proceedings shall be conducted 
     in accordance with the provisions of 9 U.S.C. Sections 1 
     to 16. If

[[Page H8527]]

     all parties to a dispute do not agree to arbitration or 
     alternate dispute resolution process, the United States 
     District Court in the district where the commission 
     maintains its office shall have original jurisdiction over 
     any action between or among parties to this compact.
       ``(8) Provide on a regular basis to the commission and host 
     state--
       ``(A) an accounting of waste shipped and proposed to be 
     shipped to the compact facility, by volume and curies;
       ``(B) proposed transportation methods and routes; and
       ``(C) proposed shipment schedules.
       ``(9) Seek to join in any legal action by or against the 
     host state to prevent nonparty states or generators from 
     disposing of low-level radioactive waste at the facility.
       ``Sec. 4.06. Each party state shall act in good faith and 
     may rely on the good faith performance of the other party 
     states regarding requirements of this compact.


                 ``ARTICLE V. PARTY STATE CONTRIBUTIONS

       ``Sec. 5.01. Each party state, except the host state, shall 
     contribute a total of $25 million to the host state. Payments 
     shall be deposited in the host state treasury to the credit 
     of the low-level waste fund in the following manner except as 
     otherwise provided. Not later than the 60th day after the 
     date of congressional ratification of this compact, each non-
     host party state shall pay to the host state $12.5 million. 
     Not later than the 60th day after the date of the opening of 
     the compact facility, each non-host party state shall pay to 
     the host state an additional $12.5 million.
       ``Sec. 5.02. As an alternative, the host state and the non-
     host states may provide for payments in the same total amount 
     as stated above to be made to meet the principal and interest 
     expense associated with the bond indebtedness or other form 
     of indebtedness issued by the appropriate agency of the host 
     state for purposes associated with the development, 
     operation, and post-closure monitoring of the compact 
     facility. In the event the member states proceed in this 
     manner, the payment schedule shall be determined in 
     accordance with the schedule of debt repayment. This schedule 
     shall replace the payment schedule described in Section 5.01 
     of this article.


              ``ARTICLE VI. PROHIBITED ACTS AND PENALTIES

       ``Sec. 6.01. No person shall dispose of low-level 
     radioactive waste generated within the party states unless 
     the disposal is at the compact facility, except as otherwise 
     provided in Section 3.05(7) of Article III.
       ``Sec. 6.02. No person shall manage or dispose of any low-
     level radioactive waste within the party states unless the 
     low-level radioactive waste was generated within the party 
     states, except as provided in Section 3.05(6) of Article III. 
     Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the storage or 
     management of low-level radioactive waste by a generator, nor 
     its disposal pursuant to 10 C.F.R. Part 20.302.
       ``Sec. 6.03. Violations of this article may result in 
     prohibiting the violator from disposing of low-level 
     radioactive waste in the compact facility, or in the 
     imposition of penalty surcharges on shipments to the 
     facility, as determined by the commission.


 ``ARTICLE VII. ELIGIBILITY, ENTRY INTO EFFECT; CONGRESSIONAL CONSENT; 
                         WITHDRAWAL; EXCLUSION

       ``Sec. 7.01. The states of Texas, Maine, and Vermont are 
     party states to this compact. Any other state may be made 
     eligible for party status by a majority vote of the 
     commission and ratification by the legislature of the host 
     state, subject to fulfillment of the rights of the initial 
     non-host party states under Section 3.04(11) of Article III 
     and Section 4.01 of Article IV, and upon compliance with 
     those terms and conditions for eligibility that the host 
     state may establish. The host state may establish all terms 
     and conditions for the entry of any state, other than the 
     states named in this section, as a member of this compact; 
     provided, however, the specific provisions of this compact, 
     except for those pertaining to the composition of the 
     commission and those pertaining to Section 7.09 of this 
     article, may not be changed except upon ratification by the 
     legislatures of the party states.
       ``Sec. 7.02. Upon compliance with the other provisions of 
     this compact, a state made eligible under Section 7.01 of 
     this article may become a party state by legislative 
     enactment of this compact or by executive order of the 
     governor of the state adopting this compact. A state becoming 
     a party state by executive order shall cease to be a party 
     state upon adjournment of the first general session of its 
     legislature convened after the executive order is issued, 
     unless before the adjournment, the legislature enacts this 
     compact.
       ``Sec. 7.03. Any party state may withdraw from this compact 
     by repealing enactment of this compact subject to the 
     provisions herein. In the event the host state allows an 
     additional state or additional states to join the compact, 
     the host state's legislature, without the consent of the non-
     host party states, shall have the right to modify the 
     composition of the commission so that the host state shall 
     have a voting majority on the commission, provided, 
     however, that any modification maintains the right of each 
     initial party state to retain one voting member on the 
     commission.
       ``Sec. 7.04. If the host state withdraws from the compact, 
     the withdrawal shall not become effective until five years 
     after enactment of the repealing legislation and the non-host 
     party states may continue to use the facility during that 
     time. The financial obligation of the non-host party states 
     under Article V shall cease immediately upon enactment of the 
     repealing legislation. If the host state withdraws from the 
     compact or abandons plans to operate a facility prior to the 
     date of any non-host party state payment under Sections 
     4.05(5) and (6) of Article IV or Article V, the non-host 
     party states are relieved of any obligations to make the 
     contributions. This section sets out the exclusive remedies 
     for the non-host party states if the host state withdraws 
     from the compact or is unable to develop and operate a 
     compact facility.
       ``Sec. 7.05. A party state, other than the host state, may 
     withdraw from the compact by repealing the enactment of this 
     compact, but this withdrawal shall not become effective until 
     two years after the effective date of the repealing 
     legislation. During this two-year period the party state will 
     continue to have access to the facility. The withdrawing 
     party shall remain liable for any payments under Sections 
     4.05(5) and (6) of Article IV that were due during the two-
     year period, and shall not be entitled to any refund of 
     payments previously made.
       ``Sec. 7.06. Any party state that substantially fails to 
     comply with the terms of the compact or to fulfill its 
     obligations hereunder may have its membership in the compact 
     revoked by a seven-eighths vote of the commission following 
     notice that a hearing will be scheduled not less than six 
     months from the date of the notice. In all other respects, 
     revocation proceedings undertaken by the commission will be 
     subject to the Administrative Procedure and Texas Register 
     Act (Article 6252-13a, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes), except 
     that a party state may appeal the commission's revocation 
     decision to the United States District Court in accordance 
     with Section 3.06 of Article III. Revocation shall take 
     effect one year from the date such party state receives 
     written notice from the commission of a final action. Written 
     notice of revocation shall be transmitted immediately 
     following the vote of the commission, by the chair, to the 
     governor of the affected party state, all other governors of 
     party states, and to the United States Congress.
       ``Sec. 7.07. This compact shall take effect following its 
     enactment under the laws of the host state and any other 
     party state and thereafter upon the consent of the United 
     States Congress and shall remain in effect until otherwise 
     provided by federal law. If Texas and either Maine or Vermont 
     ratify this compact, the compact shall be in full force and 
     effect as to Texas and the other ratifying state, and this 
     compact shall be interpreted as follows:
       ``(1) Texas and the other ratifying state are the initial 
     party states.
       ``(2) The commission shall consist of two voting members 
     from the other ratifying state and six from Texas.
       ``(3) Each party state is responsible for its pro-rata 
     share of the commission's expenses.
       ``Sec. 7.08. This compact is subject to review by the 
     United States Congress and the withdrawal of the consent of 
     Congress every five years after its effective date, pursuant 
     to federal law.
       ``Sec. 7.09. The host state legislature, with the approval 
     of the governor, shall have the right and authority, without 
     the consent of the non-host party states, to modify the 
     provisions contained in Section 3.04(11) of Article III to 
     comply with Section 402.219(c)(1), Texas Health & Safety 
     Code, as long as the modification does not impair the rights 
     of the initial non-host party states.


             ``ARTICLE VIII. CONSTRUCTION AND SEVERABILITY

       ``Sec. 8.01. The provisions of this compact shall be 
     broadly construed to carry out the purposes of the compact, 
     but the sovereign powers of a party shall not be infringed 
     upon unnecessarily.
       ``Sec. 8.02. This compact does not affect any judicial 
     proceeding pending on the effective date of this compact.
       ``Sec. 8.03. No party state acquires any liability, by 
     joining this compact, resulting from the siting, operation, 
     maintenance, long-term care or any other activity relating to 
     the compact facility. No non-host party state shall be liable 
     for any harm or damage from the siting, operation, 
     maintenance, or long-term care relating to the compact 
     facility. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this 
     compact, nothing in this compact shall be construed to alter 
     the incidence of liability of any kind for any act or failure 
     to act. Generators, transporters, owners and operators of 
     facility shall be liable for their acts, omissions, conduct 
     or relationships in accordance with applicable law. By 
     entering into this compact and securing the ratification by 
     Congress of its terms, no party state acquires a potential 
     liability under section 5(d)(2)(C) of the Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 
     2021e(d)(2)(C)) that did not exist prior to entering into 
     this compact.
       ``Sec. 8.04. If a party state withdraws from the compact 
     pursuant to Section 7.03 of Article VII or has its membership 
     in this compact revoked pursuant to section 7.06 of Article 
     VII, the withdrawal or revocation shall not affect any 
     liability already incurred by or chargeable to the affected 
     state under Section 8.03 of this article.
       ``Sec. 8.05. The provisions of this compact shall be 
     severable and if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision 
     of this compact is declared by a court of competent 
     jurisdiction

[[Page H8528]]

     to be contrary to the constitution of any participating state 
     or of the United States or the applicability thereof to any 
     government, agency, person or circumstances is held invalid, 
     the validity of the remainder of this compact and the 
     applicability thereof to any government, agency, person, or 
     circumstance shall not be affected thereby to the extent the 
     remainder can in all fairness be given effect. If any 
     provision of this compact shall be held contrary to the 
     constitution of any state participating therein, the compact 
     shall remain in full force and effect as to the state 
     affected as to all severable matters.
       ``Sec. 8.06. Nothing in this compact diminishes or 
     otherwise impairs the jurisdiction, authority, or discretion 
     of either of the following:
       ``(1) The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
     pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 
     U.S.C. Sec. 2011 et seq.).
       ``(2) An agreement state under section 274 of the Atomic 
     Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. Sec. 2021).
       ``Sec. 8.07. Nothing in this compact confers any new 
     authority on the states or commission to do any of the 
     following:
       ``(1) Regulate the packaging or transportation of low-level 
     radioactive waste in a manner inconsistent with the 
     regulations of the United States Nuclear Regulatory 
     Commission or the United States Department of Transportation.
       ``(2) Regulate health, safety, or environmental hazards 
     from source, by-product, or special nuclear material.
       ``(3) Inspect the activities of licensees of the agreement 
     states or of the United States Nuclear Regulatory 
     Commission.''.

  The CHAIRMAN. Are there any amendments to the bill?


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Doggett

  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:
       Amendment offered by Mr. Doggett: Page 2, line 17, strike 
     out ``and'', in line 20, strike out the period and insert 
     ``; and'', and after line 20 insert the following:
       (4) is granted only for so long as no low-level radioactive 
     waste is brought into Texas from any State other than Maine 
     or Vermont.

  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of 
order against the amendment.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Colorado [Mr. Dan Schaefer] reserves 
a point of order against the amendment.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, this is a very straightforward amendment. 
As the Clerk's reading just indicated, it is designed, though I still 
have reservations about this compact, to implement the intent, indeed 
the very words of my colleague, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton], 
and my colleague, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bentsen], who spoke 
earlier and said that the whole purpose of this agreement was to 
provide our State added protection against other States coming in and 
dumping their waste. So this amendment just says very straightforward, 
in a single phrase, that we are granting our approval of this compact 
only so long as the radioactive waste that is brought into Texas does 
not come from any other State other than the two that are the current 
signatories, Maine and Vermont. I am sure it is acceptable to the 
sponsor of the bill, and I would yield to the gentleman, and I will 
continue further if it is agreeable.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. DOGGETT. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I am tempted to accept it. The 
problem is, under the compact we give the States the right to negotiate 
the compact. Without checking with the Governors and the Texas 
legislature, of which the gentleman is a former member, I would not 
want to preclude them, although to my knowledge they have no 
negotiations to expand it. I would not want to accept it without giving 
the States the right to take a look at it. So I would have to have 
reluctantly oppose it.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I guess this really 
points out the entire problem with this compact. The States, the State 
of Texas has said this compact is designed to protect our citizens. 
Members of this body like the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton] and 
other colleagues from Texas and other parts of the country have come 
forward today and they have said this will protect Texas, added 
protection for our State. Yet when push comes to shove, they are eager 
and willing to let an unelected group of commissioners, as this compact 
provides in subsection 6 of section 3.05, that group of unelected 
commissioners who will not, I would say to the gentleman from Texas, 
ever have to go back to the Governor or to the legislature and 
certainly not to this Congress, to allow waste from any place they want 
to be dumped in Texas.
  That is exactly what all this is about. It is not about Texas and 
Vermont and Maine. That is the foot in the door. That is where they 
begin. If we look at this bill, Mr. Chairman, we will find in the 
definitions of this compact, where they define the term ``party 
States,'' they say Texas, Maine and Vermont are, and here is the 
critical word, the ``initial'' party States under this compact. They 
are just getting started. They are the ``initial parties.'' They are 
the beginning. But eventually waste from all of those States will pour 
right into west Texas.
  Now, it is true that in the State of Texas we have a pretty big idea 
about what our State is about. Really big. In fact we can still find 
Texans that think that Colorado is part of north Texas. In fact when 
Texas won its independence in 1836, part of Colorado was part of north 
Texas. But I have yet to come across any braggart in Texas who thinks 
that Maine and Vermont are a part of our region.
  When this Congress passed in 1986, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste 
Policy Act, it contemplated and envisioned regional compacts. One of 
the reasons, one of the several reasons for that was to avoid the 
dangers of transporting things from one end of the country to the other 
end of the country. The region that is defined in this bill are the 
States of Texas, Vermont, and Maine. If they can be part of the region 
of Texas, then any State can be part of the region of Texas.
  The low level radioactive waste as it is referred to, may be called, 
just as this is called the Texas-Maine-Vermont compact, it may be 
called low-level radioactive waste, but I guarantee my colleagues they 
would not want any of it in their backyard. This stuff is going to be 
around for long after any Member of this body. For hundreds of 
thousands of years some of this low-level radioactive waste will be 
hazardous to humans. And who knows how to protect and contain that 
waste over that period of time?
  So we would be well advised to limit, if that is the purpose of this 
compact, to limit this compact to those States and not, as the 
gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton] has suggested, leave it to the 
unelected commissioners. At least require the people's House, the 
people's representatives and the Senate of the United States, to 
approve the addition of any other States to this compact.
  The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett] has 
expired.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to proceed for an 
additional 5 minutes.
  The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from 
Texas?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman, if 
we grant unanimous consent for this 5 minutes, is it the only 
additional 5 minutes the gentleman from Austin is going to request?
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. DOGGETT. On this amendment, Mr. Chairman.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I withdraw my reservation of 
objection at this time.
  The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from 
Texas?
  There was no objection.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett] is recognized 
for 5 minutes.

                              {time}  1600

  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, there has been some discussion about this 
site where the waste from Vermont and Maine would come to Texas, and 
the suggestion that people in Sierra Blanca would be protected in the 
event that this particular compact is ratified.
  I would draw the attention of my colleagues to this particular chart, 
all these little red squiggly lines were real squiggly at one time. 
They were squiggly when the Earth shook and when the Earth trembled. In 
fact, in April 1995, during the very time that this compact was being 
considered here

[[Page H8529]]

the last time it was beat, within about 100 miles of where this site is 
located there was an earthquake that hit 5.6 on the Richter scale. That 
is enough to let us shake, rattle, and roll.
  In addition to the earthquake problem, there is the question of the 
floodplain. All this blue area around Sierra Blanca is a 100-year 
floodplain. It is even more visible on certain other charts. The fact 
is that it is not only near the Rio Grande River but it is near Graten 
Lake that is near the 100-year floodplain, that these flood waters from 
that 100-year floodplain within a mile of this site will be flowing 
into the Rio Grande River.
  We are not, therefore, just talking about the poor people of Sierra 
Blanca, we are talking about people all up and down the Rio Grande 
River who draw their water from the Rio Grande River that risk danger 
from having this dump placed where it is. That is one of the reasons, 
that this dump was initially rejected by the Texas Waste Disposal 
Authority. They turned to this dump only because it later proved to be 
the most politically palatable.
  So I would say to my colleagues that the best way to assure the 
protection that the authors say they want, protection that will extend 
not just this year but for a long time into the future, is to write it 
into law, just as with all the other provisions of this compact, to 
write into law that there is a guarantee that no waste will be coming 
from New York or from Massachusetts or from any of the other States 
around the country, 41 of whom we are told this afternoon are so happy 
they would not possibly think of coming to Sierra Blanca. Let us leave 
them in their happiness and leave the people of Sierra Blanca with the 
mere waste of Texas and Vermont and Maine and not extend it to all of 
these other States around the country.
  There are many people who cannot be here today to have their say on 
this compact. One of them is a woman from the region whose name is 
Lourdes Perez. She has written a very moving song in Spanish, ``El Nino 
de Sierra Blanca.'' It does an injustice to the beauty of her writing 
to quote from it, but to take only a few lines I would read in English 
the translation:

       For the moment it seems that it's a done deal. I say that 
     this is infuriating; that the Earth is going to swallow this 
     poison in her guts. I say that this is an insult to 
     contemplate suffering from a comfortable distance for a 
     legacy, a trash dump, they want to leave for the children.

  I think that says it all. At least make it a little trash dump of 
three States, not a giant trash dump that includes the garbage and 
makes Texas the pay toilet for the country of nuclear radioactive 
waste, 90 percent of which will be coming into that pay toilet from 
nuclear powerplants, not gloves or medical waste, much of which has a 
very short life. Ninety percent of it is going to come from nuclear 
powerplants, and an infinitesimally small portion of the total waste 
that will be pouring in even from these three States will come from 
academic or medical purposes.
  To suggest that there is something at stake for people if we do not 
establish this dump site is really to misanalyze the issue. So I ask my 
colleagues to join with me today in approving this amendment so that 
the authors who have come forward get exactly what they say they 
wanted, that only these three States are in this compact and not one 
more to it.
  The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentleman from Colorado [Mr. Dan Schaefer] 
insist on his point of order?
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I withdraw my point of 
order.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the 
amendment.
  I wish to engage in a colloquy, if I could, with the author of the 
amendment, if the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett] would care to 
answer some questions.
  Has the gentleman shown this amendment to the Governor's office or to 
the lieutenant Governor's office or to the speaker's office in Texas?
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. DOGGETT. The answer is I thought their intent was reflected in 
the compact. When we read section 6, they say they want to be open to 
everyone.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, the question 
is, before it came on the floor, had the gentleman checked this 
amendment with any official of the Texas Legislature or the Governor?
  Mr. DOGGETT. If the gentleman will continue to yield, I would say no, 
that while I have great respect for Governor Bush, I do not ordinarily 
check my Legislation with him.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I personally have no problem with 
the intent of the amendment.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from San Antonio.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, I was just going to clarify part of the 
gentleman's question. The current Governor was not there. That was 
Governor Ann Richards. The present Governor was not there, although I 
was there in the Texas House and I had the opportunity to be there. And 
one of the arguments that they utilized was the fact that most of the 
waste was just going to be coming from those three States.
  And I know that a lot of them were very favorable because of that, 
and that it was going to restrict any other States from coming down. 
That is why some individuals, despite the fact that they were against 
it, decided to support it.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I thank the 
gentleman for that clarification. My point is, I have no problem with 
the intent of the amendment. The intent, I think, is honorable, to 
restrict the waste to the States of Texas, Vermont, and Maine.
  The problem is twofold: No. 1, it has not been checked with the State 
of Texas, and it should have been. No. 2, if any amendment is accepted, 
then the State Legislatures and the Governors of the three States have 
to go back and renegotiate the entire agreement.
  So while the amendment is well-intended on its face, it in fact is a 
killer amendment. I know of no negotiations by any agency in the State 
of Texas, and I am not as familiar with the States of Vermont and 
Maine, to expand the compact. I would point out that 41 other States 
already have compacts. If we ratify this amendment, we will have 44 
States that have compacts, so we will only have 6 States remaining, one 
of those, South Carolina, has the national depository now.
  So again, while it is well-intentioned, I think this amendment would 
be a killer amendment. If in fact the gentleman wishes to pursue it, I 
would be happy to pursue it with him, with the appropriate officials in 
the three appropriate States, but I could not accept it at this point 
in time and would hope the House would vote against it if it comes to a 
vote.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. DOGGETT. The gentleman is aware that in the bill there are 
conditions to the consent of this compact by the Congress, and those 
current conditions have not required renegotiation. What is it that 
makes the gentleman think that if this Congress approves the compact 
100 percent, but says that it is limited to the three States that 
negotiated it, that that would require any renegotiation?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, it might be a 
simple reratification, but both committee staff and professional staff 
have advised me that this would require a renegotiation.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from San Antonio.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I indicated to the gentleman that I was also in the Texas House when 
this occurred. It is my understanding this would be appropriate for us. 
We have the right to dictate whether this should exist or not exist, 
and we should have a right to limit which States should be able to 
participate. So I do not see a problem in terms of accepting this 
amendment.
  In fact, I think it would be a good amendment. If the gentleman 
wanted this to go forward, this can be the language that might be able 
to allow it to

[[Page H8530]]

continue to go forward. I think a lot of us in the Texas house, we did 
have some concerns with it.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, again, my 
argument is not against the intent of the amendment. It is the fact it 
has been brought up with no consultation with the State of Texas; and 
according to the professional staff and committee staff, if we accept 
the amendment we have to renegotiate the agreement.
  We have been negotiating this agreement for 5 years. It is time to 
pass it, send it to the Senate, send it to the President; then, if we 
want to do things like that, work with the States of Texas, Vermont, 
and Maine and we will do it.
  Mr. GREEN. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. GREEN. Mr. Chairman, I know the concern of my colleague who 
formerly served in the Texas House. Maybe the Texas House should have 
revisited that, but that is not the issue on the floor today of this 
House. We have 41 States that have compacts. No other of those 41 
States have this provision in their compact. So for us to have 
protection in Texas, we need to pass this bill without the amendment.
  The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton] has 
expired.
  (By unanimous consent, Mr. Barton of Texas was allowed to proceed for 
1 additional minute.)
  Mr. GREEN. If the gentleman will continue to yield, again, 41 States 
already. If we pass this bill today intact it will be 44 States that 
will have compacts. None of the other 41 States have this amendment.
  If people are opposing the bill, then they can oppose it, but this is 
a killer amendment because it will take it and actually eliminate the 
ability of a compact between Texas, Maine, and Vermont.
  The compact commission, three-fourths of the members of that compact 
commission, my colleague from Austin talked about, are Texas members, 
and that is their decision. Again, the legislature can change that in 
Texas, but not on the floor of this Congress. We do not want to make 
the decisions for the State of Texas on the floor of this House. That 
should be made closest to the local folks.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I would also 
say that the Texas Legislature does not meet again until January 1999.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Colorado, if I 
have any time left.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, one quick point. In nine 
previous compacts that we have approved in Congress, in nine of them, 
we have never altered the language that has been approved by the 
States, and I do not think we should be altering the language that has 
been approved by the States now.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of 
words.
  Mr. Chairman, let me just indicate, if I can give my colleagues an 
analogy, for those of us that live in neighborhoods that have yards, 
there is a tendency for us, when sometimes we have a broken lawnmower 
or trash, there is a tendency for us to put it at the far end of the 
yard, which sometimes is in the proximity that is even closer to our 
neighbors.
  The same thing has happened in this situation. We have a situation 
where we assume that it is far away from all of us, but the proximity 
to Mexico is right there. Juarez is a population of over 2 million 
people. The Rio Grande is going to impact over 1,300 miles. The 
population in Texas that is impacted through the Rio Grande and the 
border region is over an additional 3 million people on this side of 
the border, not to mention the population on the other side.
  So there is always a feeling that if I put it in the far end of my 
yard, I am not going to see it, but that is what is closer to our 
neighbors. And what we are doing to them is very inappropriate in terms 
of where we are putting this.
  Not only in terms of the population that is there, I did not even 
mention the city of El Paso that has over 700,000 population. But one 
of the other things I wanted to mention to my colleagues is that if we 
look at Mexico in terms of their abuse, in terms of what is happening 
with the maquiladoras, we need to also look at ourselves in terms of 
the danger that we are putting all those individuals in. The proximity 
to the Rio Grande is so darn close, and also with the Pecos River that 
is by there, that it is putting in danger a large population.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Is the gentleman aware of the fact that the Governor of 
Chihuahua, Mexico, the State adjacent to this area, in 1995, the last 
time we beat this compact down, wrote Governor Bush and said, and I 
quote, ``I express to you our great concern over the news we have 
received about the construction of a nuclear cemetery in Sierra 
Blanca.'' And it is a cemetery, and we just hope it is only the waste 
that is going to die there. ``The confinement of radioactive material 
in that place endangers the health of the population due to the 
possible emissions of radioactivity into the air, soil and water, water 
table layers and surface water river beds.''
  So it is not only in this country, is it not, but in Mexico that 
there is grave concern; and are these not the same people to whom we 
turn when we are concerned about cleaning up air over Big Bend and the 
water along the Rio Grande that serves so much of Texas?
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, the gentleman just 
hit on an area that is of key importance. Not only is the Governor of 
the State of Chihuahua against it, but the entire Government of Mexico 
has indicated that that violates some of the treaty agreements with 
this country. They are extremely concerned that we would choose as a 
country to put a nuclear site right next to the border of Mexico. That 
is very inappropriate.
  As was also indicated earlier, there was some discussion what had 
happened in terms of an earthquake. Actually, there is a major fault, 
and there is some real concerns in terms of what has occurred in the 
last few years. There was an earthquake around the Alpine and west 
Texas area that was pretty dramatic. There was some damage that 
occurred in that area, and that can also be a great concern in terms of 
the whole area.
  Now, the issue, and I can understand, when we say we are going to 
allow them to form a pact but we cannot dictate any aspects of it? I 
think we can. I think this amendment allows an opportunity for Vermont 
and Maine and Texas to participate. And I think that when people come 
to us with trade agreements, we want to be able to have an influence, 
do we not? Sure we do.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.

                              {time}  1615

  Mr. DOGGETT. Is the gentleman aware that the Governor of Texas at the 
time, prior to Governor Bush back in 1993, was asked by the State of 
Connecticut to join this compact and that she wrote back, ``After we 
are satisfied that the Texas disposal facility is operating safely and 
efficiently, and if we determine that accepting waste shipments from 
Connecticut would benefit Texas, we may open up discussions with you''?
  So it has already been asked to have other States join in this 
compact. There are already offers to pay to dump their garbage in the 
pay toilet down in west Texas. And if we cannot, we expect other States 
to do likewise once this dump gets underway.
  Mr. BALDACCI. Mr. Chairman, would the gentleman from Texas yield on 
that point?
  Mr. DOGGETT. I would like the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Rodriguez] to 
answer my question first.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. DOGGETT. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, I agree totally with the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Doggett].
  Mr. BALDACCI. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of 
words.
  If I am reading correctly from the bill, it says on page 9 they are 
already

[[Page H8531]]

limiting the shipments from all non-host-party States, are already 
capped. It says on page 9 that it is already capped at 20 percent of 
the volume, it shall not exceed that in this legislation.
  So while the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Doggett) may want to represent 
it as an unlimited involvement of many States into Texas, in fact, it 
is already capped at 20 percent and it cannot exceed that.
  I, as a Representative from Maine, would be opposed to the amendment 
that the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett] is offering because it 
upsets the legislation that has been put before us and that has been 
dealt with by the States of Maine, Vermont, and Texas. I would put that 
forward here to say that we do have this cap.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BALDACCI. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, if my colleague already has that cap, 
and he indicated there is a 20 percent, what would be the objection of 
just allowing those three States to participate?
  I was going to indicate that there is already a cap. What would be 
the difference in terms of also agreeing to set the cap, and that was a 
cap of the understanding of the compact that there were three States to 
participate? What is wrong with allowing that cap in that amendment by 
the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett] to be accepted if that is the 
case?
  Mr. BALDACCI. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, because in Maine, as 
already has been discussed, the Maine Yankee is closing and 
decommissioning but Maine is still going to apportion a cost to pay for 
its portion of this siting.
  So Maine and Vermont and Texas are going to be in partnership, and 
Maine's share is going to be contributed, but Maine is not going to be 
reaching the volume because of an unexpected closing 10 years earlier 
of 97 percent of the low-level radioactive waste. So Maine is saying 
that it should be able to make sure that it utilizes that volume.
  But there is a cap that exists that no more than 20 percent of the 
nonparties that host can participate that already has been capped. So 
we would have the utilization for what is being paid for, and there is 
still a cap that exists on the legislation.
  I understand and appreciate the concerns that have been expressed by 
members in the community which closely reside in this particular area. 
But I really believe that this would be in Texas' best interest because 
it, by and far, would be the largest producer of not only low-level 
radioactive waste but high-level radioactive waste and, rather than 
opening itself up to all the States to have a compact that has a limit 
of nonparty States to it of up to 20 percent, allows for that cap to be 
adhered to.
  So I think this would be something that would be good for Texas, it 
would be good for Maine and Vermont, and it would stay within the 
confines of this compact. But to amend this compact in any way, we have 
to remember that in the State of Maine this was ratified by the people. 
So it is not just the Governors and the legislature, but it has to go 
back before the people, and it would almost restart that whole entire 
process.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman from Maine [Mr. 
Baldacci] will continue to yield, can he clarify that once more? That 
is 20 percent of the max that is distributed? So if another State goes 
up higher, then that percentage continues to expand, not the 
percentage, but the amount?
  Mr. BALDACCI. Reclaiming my time, no. According to what I am reading, 
it says that the shipments of low-level radioactive waste from all non-
host-party States shall not exceed 20 percent of the volume estimated 
to be disposed of by the host State during this 50-year period.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. If the gentleman will continue to yield, so 20 percent 
of that specific State.
  Mr. BALDACCI. No; the volume disposed of the host State during that 
50-year period. So there is a cap on the States participating in this 
compact.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. And if we do not reach that percentage, we are going 
to seek it out and get waste from other States?
  Mr. BALDACCI. Shall not exceed.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. But they will be trying to get to that level from 
other States so that they can get payment from those States in order to 
get their reimbursement of the cost that they have put into it; is that 
correct?
  Mr. BALDACCI. The States are capped at whatever can be allowed from 
nonhost States. So there is a cap on it that was designed by the 
compact and approved by all the parties involved. So there cannot be 
any more waste than what was already set for here. So a State cannot 
all of a sudden contract with other States to sort of make money on 
this arrangement. It is limited in the arrangement.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. We are not doing anything to that. That is still 
allowable under the compact if that language remains there?
  Mr. BALDACCI. Reclaiming my time, this amendment restricts it to 
within only those three States.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. If the gentleman would yield further, no, only those 
three States in terms of initial pact, because my understanding is that 
the particular three States can decide to include other States.
  Mr. BALDACCI. Reclaiming my time, under the compact, they can. But 
under the Doggett amendment, it would be limited to only those three 
States.
  Mr. GREEN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of 
words, and I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Barton).
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. If we were to accept this amendment as is, would 
the gentleman defer on any other amendments?
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton] 
would yield, yes, I would. And other than commending the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Barton] for accepting the amendment, I would restrain myself 
and offer no more comments this afternoon.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Well, I checked with the chairman of the 
subcommittee. But I would be willing to accept this amendment with the 
understanding that, in the interim before we go to conference, we check 
the Governor of the State and let the Members from the other two States 
check with their Governors.
  I think we have never amended any other compact on the floor of the 
House.
  Mr. DOGGETT. I understand the genuine concern of the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Barton].
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. With that understanding that we reserve the 
right to check with the State Governors, and if they need to check with 
their legislatures, I would be willing to accept this amendment if the 
gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett] would agree to offer no other 
amendments on this bill today.
  Mr. DOGGETT. If the gentleman would continue to yield, I so agree. 
And I appreciate the gentleman's position on this.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I would withdraw my objection to 
the amendment and would now support the amendment, with the agreement 
that I just have with the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett].
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Green].
  Mr. GREEN. Mr. Chairman, I am glad we have worked it out to accept 
the amendment and get more information.
  The most recent information I have, though, and I need to have my 
colleagues from west Texas talk to me about this, because I was just 
informed, Mr. Chairman, that we have 20 miles south of Juarez, Mexico, 
much closer to El Paso, a low-level nuclear site in the Republic of 
Mexico, and it is much closer to our border than this site is to the 
Republic of Mexico.
  And if my colleague, the gentleman from west Texas [Mr. Reyes], or 
the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Rodriguez] would explain that to me, I 
would be glad to yield to them. Are my colleagues aware that there is a 
low-level nuclear site 20 miles south of Juarez, Mexico?
  I understand their opposition to the bill today is a lot of La Paz 
amendments and agreements. But maybe they can share that with us. Is 
there really a low-level site 20 miles south of Juarez, Mexico, in the 
Republic of Mexico?
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

[[Page H8532]]

  Mr. GREEN. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. REYES. Not that I am aware of.
  Mr. GREEN. Reclaiming my time, my colleagues might want to check it 
and share that with fellow Members, because I know a lot of opposition 
to this site, and if there is one closer to El Paso in the Republic of 
Mexico than this site is to El Paso, then I think a lot of Members 
would like to know about that.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. GREEN. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to respond to the 
gentleman from Texas [Mr. Green]. I do not know if there is one out 
there. But say that there is, should we do the same thing? I do not 
think so.
  Mr. GREEN. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, the gentleman from Texas 
[Mr. Rodriguez] is right, maybe we should not. But I just know that if 
their side and the Republic of Mexico is closer to El Paso, why are we 
not having this battle in the National Assembly in Mexico City?
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. We have always had a problem with Mexico abusing and 
the maquiladoras abusing on the river, and we have been critical of 
them and the abuse of the environment. Because they do that does not 
mean that we should also do the same thing.
  So we need to be very cognizant of that as a large population. Just 
looking at the population on this side, El Paso has 770,000 people, and 
the other side is 2,000,000 people.
  Mr. GREEN. Reclaiming my time, I agree. But the problem I have is 
that I do not think this site is that environmentally dangerous as 
maybe a site that is maybe 20 miles south of El Paso, 20 miles south of 
Juarez.
  So I want us to consider the total package. But having looked at the 
engineering studies on this for a number of years, I would consider 
this site as not an environmentally dangerous area as compared to other 
sites.
  But, again, if we are debating this on the floor, we ought to have 
the full information for those who represent Texas. And, again, just 
because one country does it does not mean we need to. But I also know 
we have to have a site for our low-level waste.
  Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman will yield further, I 
understand that fully. And that is why this amendment would be ideal, 
because, yes, we do need a site and this would just restrict it to the 
States of Texas, Maine, and Vermont.
  But to think that people from throughout the country are going to be 
dumping in that site because it is considered to be rural and because 
the people there are poor and because they think it is an appropriate 
site, there are a lot of other concerns that we have on the border.
  Mr. GREEN. Again reclaiming my time, the reason that site was there 
is not because the people were rural or poor, it was because the 
legislature and the powers that be in the State of Texas selected that 
site. They did not say, let us go out and find some place that is poor 
and without representation. Because there is a State senator from that 
area, there is a State representative, and there are county 
commissioners who obviously had impact on this and opposed it earlier.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite 
number of words.
  Mr. Chairman, I will not interfere with the objection. I will not 
interfere with the acceptance. The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett] 
is the author of the bill, the sponsor of the bill.
  But I think as it goes forward, we need to be reminded that this 
amendment decreases the flexibility provided in the compact that 
benefits Texas, Maine, and Vermont without increasing protection for 
Texas.
  The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Rodriguez] a few moments ago asked what 
would be the problem with doing this. Let me tell him what the problem 
is to where this goes into the Record where it can be considered by 
other deliberative bodies that will be looking at this bill.
  In the first place, no new State could join the compact. And new 
members, if they so chose, if Texas so chose and Vermont so chose and 
Maine so chose, new members could reduce the cost for all of the 
facility. We are taking away flexibility from the future for our own 
State.
  And one last word: This amendment gives to this bill something that 
Congress has never made such condition on any other compact. I hope 
that the future bodies, conference committee, and the final vote on 
this, that this will be a part of the Record.
  And I support the position of the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton], 
who has made his offer to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett].

                              {time}  1630

  The CHAIRMAN. All time for debate on the amendment has expired.
  The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas 
[Mr. Doggett].
  The amendment was agreed to.
  The CHAIRMAN. Are there other amendments?


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Kucinich

  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Amendment offered by Mr. Kucinich:
       Kucinich amendment, page 2, after line 20, insert the 
     following:
       (5) No nuclear waste shall be transported through any 
     incorporated area with a population in excess of 25,000 
     persons.

  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of 
order, and I would like to see a copy of the amendment.
  The CHAIRMAN. A point of order is reserved.


                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, parliamentary inquiry.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state it.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, are we not able to have 
this amendment in writing?
  The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk is furnishing the gentleman a copy.
  The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Dan Schaefer has reserved a point of 
order.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. I do reserve a point of order, Mr. 
Chairman.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich] is recognized.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, among the many issues which have come 
before this Congress during this debate is the issue of the 
transportation of nuclear waste. This compact is set up in such a way 
that nuclear waste will be moved from the State of Maine and the State 
of Vermont to the State of Texas, which puts into question how the 
waste is going to get there. So the transportation, then, of nuclear 
waste is part and parcel of the debate over this issue and over this 
legislation.
  My colleagues in the following States ought to be very concerned 
about this legislation, because millions of cubic feet of nuclear waste 
will be moved through the States of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, into Texas. I will go over that 
again. The States of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, 
Missouri, Arkansas, into Texas will have millions and millions of cubic 
feet of radioactive waste transported through communities, and what my 
amendment does is to say once and for all that Congress takes the 
position that we are going to protect populated areas from the 
possibility of a derailment or any kind of release.
  We are dealing with technologies here which are not perfect. We are 
dealing here with technologies which are no match for the radioactive 
waste they are transporting. We are talking about a journey of 
thousands of miles from the State of Maine through to the State of 
Texas, through many populated areas.
  This Congress ought to set conditions of consent to the compact which 
include that in order for that waste to be moved safely, it must be 
kept out of populated areas. So that is why the amendment is offered in 
such a way that this Congress will protect all populated areas, 25,000 
or over, so that we keep nuclear waste from being transported through 
these communities.
  It is imperative that Congress takes a position on this issue because 
we need to protect our populated areas in the event of an accident. 
Once something happens, it will be too late to say I am sorry, it will 
be too late to say, why did we not think of routing it a different way; 
it will be too late to say we should have sat down and found a

[[Page H8533]]

way to move it through and around populated areas, and so that is why 
this amendment is imperative.
  If we are making policy for the disposition of nuclear waste, and if 
that policy provides that nuclear waste is going to be moved thousands 
of miles, we also must take a responsible position to protect the 
populated areas of some of our major States, including New Hampshire, 
which the waste from Maine would move through, and Vermont, New York, 
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, through to 
Texas.
  So, Mr. Chairman, I am asking the Members of Congress to support this 
amendment as a means of showing the communities across this country, 
whatever position one takes on the overall bill, one should not have a 
problem with an amendment that is designed to protect populated areas 
from the event of an accident moving high-level or low-level or any 
kind of nuclear waste.


                             Point of Order

  The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Dan Schaefer 
insist on his point of order?
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. I do insist on my point of order, Mr. 
Chairman.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Dan Schaefer is 
recognized.
  Mr. DAN SCHAEFER of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, I feel very strongly that 
this amendment is not germane to the bill, and that we are simply 
giving States the right to enter into these compacts. We are not asking 
them anyplace in the bill how transportation is going to be decided or 
anything else.
  Under rule 16, the fundamental purpose of an amendment must be 
germane to the fundamental purpose of the bill, and we are not talking 
in the bill about transportation.
  So I must insist on my point of order and ask for a ruling of the 
Chair.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, with all due respect to the gentleman, 
how are we going to get it there? The waste is in Maine; it is going to 
get to Texas. It is not going to materialize in Texas. It is going to 
be transported, which is why Congress ought to take a position and why 
it is germane. It is implicit in this. One cannot separate the question 
of transport from the creation of the compact. Otherwise, we are not 
moving it, so it is germane.
  The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentleman from Maine wish to be heard on the 
point of order?
  Mr. ALLEN. I do, Mr. Chairman.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Maine [Mr. Allen] is recognized.
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, there is a fundamental fact: This compact is 
not about transportation. The transportation goes on now. We are not 
talking about spent fuel rods, we are talking about low-level 
radioactive waste. In Maine, 95 percent of that waste comes from the 
Maine Yankee plant. Waste is now transported all around this country. 
Our waste in Maine now goes primarily to Barnwell in South Carolina. It 
moves through the United States, through different States, as it is.
  That is why I believe, Mr. Chairman, that a provision like this, 
which basically says, no nuclear waste, so we can argue about that, 
shall be transported through any incorporated area with a population in 
excess of 25,000 persons, that is a different issue from the issue of 
whether this compact, negotiated over years between Maine and Vermont 
and Texas, shall be approved by this House.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, if I may, with respect to my colleague's 
comments, again, no matter what the other States agreed to, the 
Congress of the United States has overriding authority under the 
Constitution, article I, section 8, with respect to interstate 
commerce, and we have an obligation to see to it that this Constitution 
is upheld.
  We are the final word on interstate commerce. So I am saying in order 
to assert our constitutional prerogative on interstate commerce, that 
what we ought to do is put it in the conditions of consent to the 
compact, because otherwise we have a compact that means nothing. The 
question here is of transport. Common sense tells us it is germane.
  The CHAIRMAN. The Chair is prepared to rule.
  The fundamental purpose of the pending bill is to grant the consent 
of the Congress to a specified compact among three States. The Chair 
would agree that an amendment proposing directly to change the terms of 
the interstate compact itself would be contrary to that fundamental 
purpose, but the Chair notes that while section 5 of the bill carries 
the text of the interstate compact, the preceding sections of the bill 
comprises provisions exercising and reserving the exercise of the 
prerogatives of Congress to legislation with respect to matters 
addressed in the compact. Section 3 of the bill makes the consent of 
the Congress to the compact contingent on fidelity to the pertinent 
Federal law. Section 4 of the bill reserves the possibility that the 
Congress might alter or repeal its consent to the compact. Thus, the 
purpose of the bill is not merely to consent to the text of the compact 
proposed by the States, but also to prescribe contingent or conditional 
terms for such consent. The Doggett amendment added an additional 
condition subsequent.
  The amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio does not propose a 
direct change in the compact, itself. Rather, it proposes to include in 
the grant of the congressional consent a condition on the routing of 
nuclear waste material as a matter of Federal law.
  The bill, which is open to amendment at any point, contains a 
provision in the compact on page 15 relating to the routing of nuclear 
waste materials in accordance with Federal law.
  Thus, the amendment does not deviate from the fundamental purpose of 
the bill, that is, to ratify a compact among three States; nor does it 
directly change the compact provisions. Because the issue of routing is 
in the bill, the Chair feels the amendment is germane and overrules the 
point of order.
  Is there further debate on the amendment?
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the proposed 
amendment.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Maine [Mr. Allen] is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, a lot of allegations have been made about 
waste. I want to say first of all, I understand the position of my good 
friend from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich] but I do want to challenge some of the 
statements that he made earlier.
  Millions of cubic feet of nuclear waste. Let me describe the State of 
Maine for a moment and the waste that we have.
  Today, in the State of Maine, 95 percent of our low-level radioactive 
waste, which is what we are talking about, 95 percent of that is 
generated by the Maine Yankee atomic powerplant. That powerplant is 
closed, has been closed this year, is closed permanently, will now go 
through a process of decommissioning. In the course of that process of 
decommissioning, there will be low-level radioactive waste that will 
still need to be moved on, but the amount that will be generated in the 
State of Maine, needless to say, is going to fall off dramatically.
  Now, I would also say, as I mentioned in response to the point of 
order, that what we are talking about here is low-level radioactive 
waste that already moves. It is generated by hospitals, it is generated 
by laboratories, it is already moved around this country through a wide 
variety of States, and that really is bound to continue, whether this 
compact is ratified or not.
  Finally, I would say this: An earlier amendment was accepted by the 
gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton], but I have grave reservations and 
would urge the defeat of all amendments for several reasons. Maine, 
Texas, and Vermont spent years negotiating this compact. The 
legislatures and the Governors of those States approved the compact. 
Any amendment would require the three States to begin the ratification 
process all over again. It goes back to the Governors, back to the 
legislatures, and we are here today really to approve what they have 
already negotiated.
  I would say this: No other low-level radioactive waste compacts 
approved by this body have been amended when they were submitted to 
Congress. Compact amendments have been approved by Congress only at the 
request of member States, only at the request of member States and only 
after the amendments were negotiated and adopted by member States in 
the same manner as the original compact.

[[Page H8534]]

  We have a process for dealing with these compacts, and it is to let 
the Governors and the State legislatures come to agreement and when 
they have come to agreement, come to the floor of this House and ask 
for approval. We should not today approve amendments, any amendments to 
this compact. I say, let us approve the compact as it came in, and then 
if the States wish to renegotiate their deal, they can do that as they 
go forward.
  For that reason, I urge a ``no'' vote on the amendment proposed by my 
good friend from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich].
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. ALLEN. I yield to the gentleman from Ohio.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, as the Chairman has so well stated, this 
amendment is germane, and in addition to that, it is time for Congress 
to step up to its responsibility to set terms so we protect populated 
areas. Again, the interest of Maine is at stake. I respect that. The 
interests of the people of Maine are at stake when nuclear waste is 
moving through communities in Maine, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, 
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. Low-level is a 
misnomer. This nuclear waste lasts for thousands of years, whether it 
is 10 cubic feet or a million cubic feet.
  So this is not simply a matter of a few States coming to an agreement 
without regard to the interests of the rest of the United States of 
America. What I am trying to preclude here is that we do not end up 
with a mobile Chernobyl and have a condition where nuclear waste is in 
proximity to a populated area and creates a risk to that populated area 
while it is being transported.
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, let me respond to the 
threat of a mobile Chernobyl.

                              {time}  1645

  We are not talking about high level radioactive waste. We are talking 
about clothing, we are talking about materials, we are talking about 
the kinds of materials that are used in hospitals, that are used in 
laboratories, and yes, are used to protect workers in and around 
nuclear powerplants. We are not talking about spent fuel rods.
  This kind of low-level radioactive waste is already transported all 
around the country every day in trucks and rail cars. I believe this 
compact, what this compact does is ensure that the waste from Maine and 
Vermont and Texas will be dealt with appropriately in an 
environmentally sound manner.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite 
number of words.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in the strongest possible opposition. Mr. 
Chairman, I want to show the Members in the body this amendment. It 
took me a minute to decipher it. I was not sure if a chicken had been 
walking around or what. It has not been shown to me. I am the offeror 
of the bill. I saw it after the subcommittee chairman asked for a copy, 
so to say that there has been an attempt to work this issue out would 
be a misnomer.
  Second, although the Chair has ruled it is germane because we have 
the right to amend the compact, I would point out that this is not a 
transportation bill. It is a bill simply saying that three States have 
the right to enter into an interstate compact.
  Currently the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department 
of Transportation and the States have more than adequate regulations in 
place regarding transportation of low-level radioactive materials. Of 
the States of Vermont and Maine, if the compact is ratified, it is 
estimated they are going to transport less than 50 truckloads of low-
level nuclear material to the State of Texas each year.
  Let us put that in perspective: 50 truckloads. There are millions of 
pounds of low-level, or at least hazardous materials, I would not say 
all radioactive materials, but hazardous materials being transported 
around the country today without this amendment. There is absolutely no 
reason to put another constraint on these three States other than 
already exists under current State and Federal law and regulation.
  I understand the gentleman's concern, I understand he legitimately 
feels there may be a hazard to human health in some population areas of 
more than 25,000 people. I would point out though that almost all this 
material is going to be transported in containers that are at least a 
foot thick, more than 10 inches thick on the sides and a foot thick on 
the top, in solid form.
  I would also point out that in the 30 years that the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission has been monitoring the transportation of such 
materials in other areas, there have only been four accidents, and none 
of those accidents have resulted in any kind of an injury to human 
health at all. So there is no reason for this amendment.
  This is not a transportation bill, it is a compact bill between three 
States. There are adequate regulations in place now at both the State 
and Federal level. I would hope that we would reject this amendment 
overwhelmingly.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite 
number of words.
  Mr. Chairman, this is another amendment, like the Doggett amendment, 
that is just simply meant to kill or slow down or to derail this bill. 
That is simply all it is. It is asking for something that the Congress 
has never made such a condition on on any other compact.
  As I read it, it says ``No nuclear waste shall be transported through 
any incorporated area with a population in excess of 25,000 persons''; 
not just no low-level waste, no nuclear waste. That affects everybody 
in this country. That affects the gentleman from California, who had 
the compact with the two Dakotas. You can get out of the Dakotas a few 
miles without hitting a city that is 25,000 or less, but you cannot get 
very close to California.
  How can you get the shipments from any of the areas? This amendment 
may mean putting waste on back roads, rather than the safest streets. 
The safest streets are the highways, the better-built roads, the more 
recently being constructed roads. I cannot really believe the gentleman 
from Cleveland, OH [Mr. Kucinich] wants to choose between who is at 
risk either. I do not want really believe he means that. The best 
highways may be the more populated areas with bypasses.
  Do we want to put it on Main Street, the old Main Streets that come 
down through? It could vastly increase costs by putting waste on 
circuitous routes, and could make it a lot more dangerous. It could 
mean that you simply cannot ship waste, for example, from Rice 
University out of Houston, because you cannot use the roads. How would 
you get out of Sloan-Kettering in New York City to the outskirts of New 
York? You just could not do it. How could you get out of the smallest 
hospital in the city of Cleveland? You just could not do it.
  This is a bad amendment, meant to derail the bill. I urge Members to 
vote against it.
  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of 
words.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this amendment, because 
I believe very strongly that whether it is this amendment or any other 
amendment, it is not going to make a terrible bill any better.
  I want to raise my objection to this amendment on another premise 
that has not been raised here today, because I spoke earlier about 
people who choose to live in the serenity of a small community, and in 
my case, in west Texas, where this proposed site is going to be built, 
or is planned to be built; that people have chosen to live in this 
serene area, where people are supposed to leave them alone and let them 
conduct their lives the way they see fit.
  The premise the gentleman from Ohio makes that perhaps their rights 
are not as important as someone from an urban area, I cannot understand 
that. Why would a person, for example, that might live in Cleveland 1 
year and decide the next year that they want to move to a small town 
with white picket fences, that has a population of 5,000, and suddenly 
the Federal Government comes along and says, if you live in Cleveland 
you do not have to have the nuclear waste come through your town, but 
if you live in Any Town, U.S.A., you are going have this stuff rolling 
by your front yard? I think that is discriminatory in terms of an 
American's choice of where they want to live. The right of an American 
in a rural area is every bit as important as the right of an American 
in an urban area.

[[Page H8535]]

 I cannot understand how they can distinguish these rights by proposing 
this kind of amendment.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BONILLA. I yield to the gentleman from Ohio.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, first of all, I missed the first part of 
the debate. Did the gentleman say that he favored having this in Texas, 
in his district?
  Mr. BONILLA. I am absolutely opposed to this bill and building this 
compact in my district.
  Mr. KUCINICH. I missed that initial part. If I may continue, with the 
gentleman's permission, the issue here is not to establish competing 
interests between areas where the population is under 25,000 or areas 
where the population is over 25,000, the issue in this amendment is to 
establish that we put the responsibility on those officials in charge 
to make sure that they keep it out of populated areas, and that they 
draw the route through which this waste is going to move in such a way 
as to not jeopardize any heavily populated civilian area.
  Those who support this bill want to transport it from Maine all the 
way through to Texas. So it is incumbent upon us to give some direction 
as to whether or not we want to see the waste moved away from populated 
areas, where there is less jeopardy.
  There has been testimony presented by the supporters of this bill, by 
the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Barton], that this is a very safe method 
of transport, that there has never been an accident that has caused any 
harm. If that is true, then this amendment should not be a problem with 
the gentleman.
  Mr. BONILLA. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, my point is that I do 
not think a person living in an urban area should have any more 
preferential treatment than my area. I do not want the waste going 
through the town of the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich], and I do 
not want it winding up in my district.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of 
words.
  Mr. Chairman, I would ask my friend, the gentleman from Cleveland, OH 
[Mr. Kucinich], my good friend, whether this restriction applies to the 
compact that Ohio is a member of.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. SANDERS. I yield to the gentleman from Ohio.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, Ohio no longer is a member of a compact. 
Based on numerous testimony and the concerns of Ohioans that nuclear 
waste was dangerous, we got out of the compact.
  Mr. SANDERS. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, but does this 
restriction apply to the compact that Ohio was a member of, or any 
other compact that has been passed by the Congress?
  Mr. KUCINICH. I think we should ask for a ruling of the 
Parliamentarian.
  Mr. SANDERS. It is not a question of a ruling, it is a factual 
question. The answer is no, obviously not. The question is a confusing 
one. The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich] and I are opposed to 
nuclear power. The question is, however, not to debate now the future 
of nuclear power, but what do we do when we have nuclear waste that is 
low level?
  The implication of the argument of the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. 
Kucinich] is a very simple one. That is, basically, because this is a 
clear amendment, if we cannot transport the low-level waste, then we 
have to get rid of it in our own backyard. The problem with that 
argument is, there are some backyards in the country in which it would 
be an environmental disaster to place low-level nuclear waste; that 
that waste would then seep into the water table, it would go all over 
the area, and people would be drinking it.
  So in my view, what the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich] is arguing 
is bad environmental policy. Obviously, I would ask the gentleman from 
Ohio if he has researched the issue, and in fact, if he believes that 
it would be possible, and the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Hall] made this 
point, if it would be conceivable that waste could be taken from 
Vermont or Maine to Texas without going through a community of 25,000. 
My guess is it would be impossible.
  All the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich] is saying is let us kill 
it; you cannot move it, let us kill it. But the whole thrust of a 
compact, the concept of a compact, is that there are some communities, 
and nobody wants low-level nuclear waste, we can agree on that, but we 
could also agree that environmentalists and geologists do tell us that 
there are some areas for geological reasons that can better accept the 
waste than other areas.
  If the amendment of the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich] were to 
pass, essentially what he would be saying is that every community has 
to get rid of the waste within that area, despite the fact that some 
areas from an environmental point of view would see enormous damage.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. SANDERS. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Would it not also mean you could not even get it 
from one city to the next, not in intrastate nor interstate?
  Mr. SANDERS. Somebody made the point that if you are in a hospital in 
a large city surrounded by another city, you obviously could not get it 
out.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. The gentleman has been kind enough to use, and let 
me read it, ``no nuclear waste,'' not just low-level waste, he has been 
kind enough to use low-level waste, but no nuclear waste could be 
moved.
  Mr. KUCINICH. If the gentleman will continue to yield, Mr. Chairman, 
it is implied in the amendment, of course, that if it becomes too 
difficult for it to be moved, then storing it on-site is a viable 
option. The decision of the nuclear utilities to locate was a decision 
that was affirmed by public utility or public service commissions, was 
it not?
  Mr. SANDERS. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I opposed the 
construction of nuclear powerplants, so the gentleman is talking to the 
wrong guy. But the location of the nuclear powerplants, when they were 
developed, it was not implicit in that, it was certainly not implicit 
that the waste would be permanently stored on that location. For 
example, in Vernon, VT, it would be a disastrous place to store nuclear 
waste in a long-term period.
  So given the reality, and this is the problem that we have, I say to 
the gentleman from Ohio, given the reality that we have all of this 
nuclear waste, the environmental challenge is to determine how we could 
dispose of that waste in the safest way possible.
  I do not agree that forcing communities to dispose of it locally, 
which is the implication of the gentleman's amendment, is the safest. I 
would argue that that in fact could be an environmental disaster.
  Mr. KUCINICH. If the gentleman will continue to yield, Mr. Chairman, 
I would say to the gentleman from Vermont [Mr. Sanders], my proposal is 
to stop the shipment of waste through populated areas. However, it 
makes good sense, I believe, as public policy, that because we do not 
have any sound ways of storing this anywhere, that the best bet is to 
leave it on-site until we come up with----
  Mr. SANDERS. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I would say to the 
gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich], I think every environmentalist in 
America would tell him that is an absolutely incorrect statement.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite 
number of words.
  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Vermont.
  Mr. SANDERS. I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.
  I think there is not much of an environmental debate, I would say to 
my very good friend, the gentleman from Ohio, that there are certain 
locations in the country, given the fact that we have low-level waste, 
that can from an environmental point of view absorb and sustain that 
waste better than others. There is no question about it.

                              {time}  1700

  The gentleman is wrong, I believe, and I think most environmentalists 
and geologists would tell the gentleman that he is wrong by saying that 
it is good environmental policy to force communities which, from a 
geological point of view, would have a very difficult time containing 
that waste. I do not think that there is much argument about that.

[[Page H8536]]

  The difference that we have is, the gentleman is opposed to nuclear 
power. I am opposed to it. But the reality is, we have waste. The 
environmental challenge is, how do we get rid of that waste in the most 
effective and safe way?
  The gentleman from Ohio seems to think if it gets into a truck, that 
is more dangerous than if we store it in an unsound environmental 
location. I would strongly disagree and would argue that I think most 
geologists and environmentalists would also disagree.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I want to read 
into the Record the number of accidents, because when I spoke off the 
cuff, I did not give the correct number and I want to make sure that we 
at least get the record straight.
  During the past 20 years, there have been 53 transportation accidents 
involving approximately 1,000 packages of commercial low-level 
radioactive waste. Of those 53 accidents, only 4 involved the release 
of any low-level radioactive waste, and of those 4, none resulted in 
any human injury.
  So I was correct on that point. But there have been 53 accidents, not 
4. There have been 53. Four resulted in release of some low-level 
contamination, but there was no one injured from those four.
  Mr. Chairman, I would also like to point out that the amendment of 
the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich], as it is currently written, 
would prohibit all nuclear waste from being transported, not just low-
level. And if we interpret it literally, we could not move the waste 
from where it was generated.
  For example, at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, we could 
not remove the syringes, we could not remove the x-rays, we could not 
remove the radionuclides once they have been used. So it has been 
pointed out by others in opposition, this is a killer amendment. It is 
outside the scope of the bill, and I would hope that we would vote it 
down.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, what the gentleman from Texas [Mr. 
Barton] is saying is that it is better to put it in a site and a 
facility that is licensed for disposal rather than to create thousands 
of de facto sites in cities, hospitals, universities, and small areas 
all over the country?
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, that is 
correct.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of 
words.
  Mr. Chairman, it is obvious that this issue is very complex, very 
complicated, and it is never a win-win situation. There are always 
winners and there are losers.
  The gentleman from Vermont [Mr. Sanders] asked the rhetorical 
question: Is this kind of waste able to be absorbed in anyone's 
backyard? Obviously not. It depends on whose backyard we are talking 
about. I think this afternoon we have had a good opportunity to look at 
the complexity of the issue. We have had an opportunity to look at the 
controversy surrounding this kind of issue.
  Mr. Chairman, I think that when we are talking about where is the 
waste, where can we store it, I would ask: Is it any safer in Vernon, 
VT, versus Sierra Blanca, TX? I think it is left up to the situation of 
whose ox is being gored.
  I think in the context of the number of accidents, it does not make 
any difference how many accidents have occurred. It does not make any 
difference the historical record of those accidents. It is the next one 
that we have to worry about.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. REYES. I yield to the gentleman from Ohio.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I would like to go back to the beginning 
of this debate over this amendment. The gentleman from Vermont and I 
agree on the problems with nuclear power. Once nuclear power was 
created, nuclear waste as the output of it became a separate problem.
  Nuclear utilities, it is true, built in environmentally sensitive 
areas. There is no question about that. Lake Erie is an example off the 
shores of the State of Ohio. There are two major nuclear power plants 
constructed in the eastern part and the western part of our State right 
on the shores of Lake Erie. But I submit that the technology still is 
not up to the challenge of moving this waste and that perhaps it is not 
up to the challenge of keeping it on site.
  Mr. Chairman, perhaps there are no good choices here at all, but we 
must be cognizant of the fact that once we move it, that brings with it 
a whole different other set of circumstances and problems.
  Mr. Chairman, 95 percent of the waste involved is from nuclear power 
plants. It is not from laboratories; it is from nuclear power plants. 
And because of that, when the waste is moved through heavily populated 
areas, it creates problems, and that is why I brought this amendment 
up.
  I am well aware of the fact that utilities were not responsible in 
where these plants were built. I am well aware that some areas want the 
waste out of there. But the problem is, once we start moving the waste, 
we create a whole new set of problems. Until we are ready to move the 
waste in a responsible way away from populated areas, we should not be 
building new compacts to encourage the movement of new waste.
  The CHAIRMAN. All time for debate on this amendment has expired.
  The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio 
[Mr. Kucinich].
  The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to object.
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state his objection.
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, was the gentleman on his feet in 
time to request a vote?
  The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman was on his feet.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 258, further proceedings on the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich] will be 
postponed.
  Are there further amendments?


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Kucinich

  The CHAIRMAN. The pending business is the demand for a recorded vote 
on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Kucinich] on 
which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes 
prevailed by voice vote.
  The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.
  The Clerk redesignated the amendment.
  The CHAIRMAN. A recorded vote has been demanded.
  A recorded vote was refused.
  So the amendment was rejected.
  The CHAIRMAN. If there are no further amendments, under the rule, the 
Committee rises.
  Accordingly the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Gutknecht) having assumed the chair, Mr. Ewing, Chairman of the 
Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, reported that 
the Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 629) to 
grant the consent of the Congress to the Texas Low-Level Radioactive 
Waste Disposal Compact, pursuant to House Resolution 258, he reported 
the bill back to the House with an amendment adopted by the Committee 
of the Whole.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the rule, the previous question is 
ordered.
  The question is on the amendment.
  The amendment was agreed to.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the engrossment and third 
reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the bill.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a 
quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not 
present.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Evidently a quorum is not present.
  The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 309, 
nays 107, not voting 17, as follows:

[[Page H8537]]

                             [Roll No. 497]

                               YEAS--309

     Abercrombie
     Aderholt
     Allen
     Archer
     Armey
     Baker
     Baldacci
     Ballenger
     Barcia
     Barr
     Barrett (NE)
     Barrett (WI)
     Bartlett
     Barton
     Bass
     Bateman
     Bentsen
     Bereuter
     Berman
     Berry
     Bilbray
     Bilirakis
     Bishop
     Bliley
     Blumenauer
     Blunt
     Boehlert
     Boehner
     Bonior
     Bono
     Borski
     Boswell
     Boucher
     Boyd
     Brady
     Brown (CA)
     Brown (FL)
     Brown (OH)
     Bryant
     Bunning
     Burr
     Burton
     Buyer
     Callahan
     Camp
     Campbell
     Canady
     Cannon
     Carson
     Chabot
     Chambliss
     Chenoweth
     Christensen
     Clay
     Clayton
     Clement
     Clyburn
     Coble
     Coburn
     Collins
     Combest
     Condit
     Cook
     Cooksey
     Cox
     Cramer
     Crane
     Crapo
     Cubin
     Cunningham
     Danner
     Davis (FL)
     DeGette
     DeLay
     Deutsch
     Dickey
     Dicks
     Dingell
     Dooley
     Dreier
     Duncan
     Dunn
     Edwards
     Ehlers
     Ehrlich
     Emerson
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Etheridge
     Everett
     Ewing
     Farr
     Fattah
     Fawell
     Fazio
     Flake
     Foglietta
     Foley
     Ford
     Fowler
     Fox
     Frelinghuysen
     Frost
     Furse
     Gallegly
     Ganske
     Gekas
     Gephardt
     Gilchrest
     Gillmor
     Goode
     Goodlatte
     Goodling
     Gordon
     Goss
     Graham
     Granger
     Green
     Greenwood
     Gutknecht
     Hall (TX)
     Hamilton
     Hansen
     Harman
     Hastert
     Hastings (FL)
     Hastings (WA)
     Hayworth
     Hefley
     Hefner
     Herger
     Hill
     Hilleary
     Hobson
     Hoekstra
     Horn
     Hostettler
     Houghton
     Hoyer
     Hulshof
     Hutchinson
     Hyde
     Inglis
     Istook
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Jenkins
     John
     Johnson (WI)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones
     Kaptur
     Kildee
     Kilpatrick
     Kim
     Kind (WI)
     King (NY)
     Kingston
     Klink
     Klug
     Knollenberg
     Kolbe
     LaFalce
     Lampson
     Largent
     Latham
     LaTourette
     Lazio
     Leach
     Levin
     Lewis (KY)
     Linder
     Livingston
     Lofgren
     Lowey
     Lucas
     Luther
     Manton
     Manzullo
     Martinez
     Mascara
     McCarthy (MO)
     McCarthy (NY)
     McCollum
     McCrery
     McHale
     McHugh
     McInnis
     McIntosh
     McIntyre
     McKeon
     Meek
     Metcalf
     Mica
     Miller (CA)
     Miller (FL)
     Minge
     Mink
     Moran (KS)
     Moran (VA)
     Myrick
     Neumann
     Ney
     Northup
     Norwood
     Nussle
     Oberstar
     Obey
     Owens
     Oxley
     Packard
     Parker
     Paxon
     Pease
     Pelosi
     Peterson (MN)
     Peterson (PA)
     Pickering
     Pickett
     Pitts
     Pomeroy
     Porter
     Portman
     Pryce (OH)
     Quinn
     Radanovich
     Rahall
     Ramstad
     Redmond
     Regula
     Riggs
     Riley
     Rivers
     Roemer
     Rogers
     Rohrabacher
     Roukema
     Royce
     Ryun
     Sabo
     Salmon
     Sanders
     Sandlin
     Sanford
     Sawyer
     Saxton
     Scarborough
     Schaefer, Dan
     Schaffer, Bob
     Scott
     Serrano
     Sessions
     Shadegg
     Shaw
     Sherman
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Sisisky
     Skaggs
     Skelton
     Smith (MI)
     Smith (OR)
     Smith (TX)
     Smith, Adam
     Smith, Linda
     Snowbarger
     Snyder
     Solomon
     Spence
     Spratt
     Stabenow
     Stark
     Stearns
     Stenholm
     Stokes
     Stump
     Stupak
     Sununu
     Talent
     Tauscher
     Tauzin
     Taylor (MS)
     Taylor (NC)
     Thomas
     Thompson
     Thornberry
     Thune
     Tiahrt
     Towns
     Traficant
     Turner
     Upton
     Vento
     Walsh
     Wamp
     Waters
     Watkins
     Watts (OK)
     Weldon (FL)
     Weldon (PA)
     Wexler
     White
     Whitfield
     Wicker
     Wolf
     Woolsey
     Wynn
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)

                               NAYS--107

     Ackerman
     Andrews
     Bachus
     Baesler
     Blagojevich
     Bonilla
     Calvert
     Capps
     Castle
     Conyers
     Costello
     Coyne
     Cummings
     Davis (IL)
     Davis (VA)
     Deal
     DeFazio
     Delahunt
     DeLauro
     Dellums
     Diaz-Balart
     Dixon
     Doggett
     Doolittle
     Doyle
     English
     Ensign
     Evans
     Filner
     Forbes
     Frank (MA)
     Franks (NJ)
     Gejdenson
     Gibbons
     Gilman
     Gutierrez
     Hinchey
     Hinojosa
     Holden
     Hooley
     Hunter
     Jackson (IL)
     Johnson (CT)
     Kanjorski
     Kasich
     Kelly
     Kennedy (MA)
     Kennedy (RI)
     Kennelly
     Kleczka
     Kucinich
     LaHood
     Lantos
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (GA)
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Maloney (CT)
     Maloney (NY)
     Markey
     McDade
     McGovern
     McKinney
     McNulty
     Meehan
     Menendez
     Millender-McDonald
     Moakley
     Mollohan
     Morella
     Murtha
     Nadler
     Nethercutt
     Olver
     Ortiz
     Pallone
     Pappas
     Pascrell
     Paul
     Payne
     Petri
     Pombo
     Poshard
     Price (NC)
     Reyes
     Rodriguez
     Rogan
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Rothman
     Roybal-Allard
     Rush
     Sanchez
     Schumer
     Sensenbrenner
     Shays
     Skeen
     Slaughter
     Smith (NJ)
     Souder
     Strickland
     Tierney
     Torres
     Velazquez
     Watt (NC)
     Weller
     Weygand
     Yates

                             NOT VOTING--17

     Becerra
     Cardin
     Gonzalez
     Hall (OH)
     Hilliard
     Jefferson
     Matsui
     McDermott
     Neal
     Pastor
     Rangel
     Schiff
     Tanner
     Thurman
     Visclosky
     Waxman
     Wise

                              {time}  1732

  Messrs. CAPPS, DIXON, FRANK of Massachusetts, HUNTER, GILMAN, 
MOAKLEY, PAYNE, Mrs. KELLY, and Mrs. MALONEY of New York changed their 
vote from ``yea'' to ``nay.''
  Mr. PICKERING and Mr. STARK changed their vote from ``nay'' to 
``yea.''
  So the bill was passed.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  The motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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