TEXAS LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL COMPACT CONSENT ACT-- CONFERENCE REPORT; Congressional Record Vol. 144, No. 114
(Senate - September 02, 1998)

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    TEXAS LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL COMPACT CONSENT ACT--
                           CONFERENCE REPORT

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Ashcroft). The Senate will proceed to the 
conference report to accompany H.R. 629, which the clerk will now 
report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A conference report to accompany H.R. 629, an act to grant 
     consent of Congress to the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste 
     Disposal Compact.

  The Senate resumed consideration of the conference report.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time on this conference report is limited 
to 40 minutes to be equally divided.
  Who yields time?
  Ms. SNOWE addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I am now pleased to yield to my colleague 
from Maine, Senator Collins.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Thank you, Mr. President.
  Mr. President, I rise to join the senior Senator from Maine, Senator 
Snowe, in urging my colleagues to approve the conference report on H.R. 
629, legislation that would ratify the Low-Level Radioactive Waste 
Disposal Compact, known as the Texas Compact.
  In entering into an agreement for the disposal of low-level 
radioactive waste, the States of Maine, Texas, and Vermont followed the 
direction established by the Congress in the Low-Level Radioactive 
Waste Policy Act and its 1985 amendments. That legislation contemplated 
that States would form agreements of this nature for the disposal of 
low-level waste, and thus, by ratifying the compact, Congress will be 
completing a process that it set in motion.
  Since 1985, Congress has ratified 9 compacts involving 41 States. Put 
differently, 82 of the 100 Members of this body live in States with 
compacts that have already been ratified by the Senate, and with the 
approval of the Texas Compact, that number will rise to 88. In short, 
what Maine, Texas, and Vermont are seeking today has already been 
routinely granted in the vast majority of States.
  While the disposal of radioactive waste is bound to generate 
controversy, this agreement has been overwhelmingly approved by the 
legislatures of the three compacting States, signed by their Governors, 
and, in the case of the State of Maine, endorsed by voters in a 
referendum. This is consistent with the congressional determination 
that the States bear responsibility for the disposal of low-level 
radioactive waste and that, in the interest of limiting the number of 
disposal sites, they work together to carry out this responsibility. 
Indeed, ratification by Congress is necessitated only because State-
imposed limitations on the importation of waste would otherwise violate 
the commerce clause.
  Mr. President, the Senator from Minnesota, whom I enjoy serving with 
on the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, has criticized the 
disposal site that is under consideration by the State of Texas. Apart 
from the fact that the location of the site is a matter for Texas to 
determine and is not a component of this bill, that criticism is 
unsupported by the facts.
  In making the decision to consider the proposed site in Hudspeth 
County, TX, there has been extensive public involvement as well as a 
thorough environmental and technical review. The county was found to 
have two critical characteristics for a disposal site; namely, very 
little rainfall and very low population density. Indeed, the county is 
the size of the State of Connecticut and has a population of only 2,800 
people, and it must be remembered, Mr. President, that this is only a 
proposed site. Final approval will not be forthcoming unless all of the 
standards established by Texas law are satisfied.
  The decision to consider the site in Texas has nothing to do with who 
lives there. It has everything to do with the fact that very few people 
live there.
  This body has been presented with nine low-level radioactive waste 
compacts. It has not imposed changes on any one of those agreements. In 
keeping with congressionally established policy for the disposal of 
low-level waste, Maine, Texas, and Vermont are simply seeking the same 
treatment.
  I commend my colleague from Maine, Senator Snowe, for her leadership 
on this issue, and I urge my colleagues to support the conference 
report. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. WELLSTONE addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota is recognized.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I rise again this morning to speak 
against the conference report to H.R. 629. This is the Texas-Maine-
Vermont Compact which will result in the dumping of low-level 
radioactive waste from Texas, Maine, and Vermont, and potentially other 
States, at a dump located in Texas. The dump is expected to be built in 
the town of Sierra Blanca in Hudspeth County where 66 percent of the 
residents are Latino, and 39 percent live below the poverty line.

  Mr. President, the construction of this dump site in this community 
raises important questions of environmental justice. This is not just 
about the people in Hudspeth County or about the people in Sierra 
Blanca, or about west Texas for that matter. This is a fight for 
communities all across the country who do not have the political clout 
to keep this pollution out. This is a fight for minority communities 
who are burdened with a disproportionate share of these sites.
  It seems to be a pattern in our country, whenever we decide where we 
are going to build a power line or where we are going to build a 
nuclear waste dump site or where we are going to put an incinerator, it 
never is located in communities where people who live in those 
communities have political clout. It is not located where the heavy 
hitters and the well-connected and the people who give the big 
contributions live. It is almost always located in communities of 
color.
  Mr. President, there is an article today that I recommend for my 
colleagues in the New York Times entitled, ``For Some, Texas Town Is 
Too Popular as Waste Disposal Site.'' This is all about what we are 
debating today. I just read the conclusion. Maria Mendez, a retired 
school aide from Allamore, who lives in the community, is quoted as 
saying:

       I think Sierra Blanca was chosen for all this dumping 
     because we don't have any political clout. I think it's a 
     racism thing; I really do. Here we are, the hugest dump in 
     the whole world. First sludge, now nuclear waste. Our home 
     has been taken over as the nation's dumping ground.

  Mr. President and colleagues, environmental justice is a difficult 
issue. Too often we hide behind excuses. We say, ``These are private 
sector decisions. This is a matter of State and

[[Page S9810]]

local responsibility. It is too hard to prove.'' But this is pretty 
easy. The dump will not be built if we reject this compact. We have 
direct responsibility, we have a Federal role, a direct Federal role. 
We cannot wash our hands of this. We cannot walk away and pretend we 
are not to blame. We are all responsible. And it is important to take a 
stand.
  This compact raises troubling issues of environmental justice. In 
this case, the Texas Legislature selected Hudspeth County. They already 
selected Hudspeth County. And the Texas Waste Authority selected the 
Sierra Blanca site after the Authority's scoping study had already 
ruled out Sierra Blanca as scientifically unsuitable. The Waste 
Authority selected the site after the Authority's own scoping study had 
ruled Sierra Blanca out as scientifically unsuitable; that is to say a 
geologically active area; that is to say an earthquake area.
  Communities near the preferred site have had enough political clout 
to keep the dump out, but Sierra Blanca--already the site of the 
largest sewage sludge project in our country--was not so fortunate. The 
Waste Authority does a scoping study. The scoping study says this is 
not scientifically suitable, but the Waste Authority goes ahead and 
chooses this community. Why not? Disproportionately poor, 
disproportionately Latino. This is an issue of environmental justice.
  The residents of Sierra Blanca, Hudspeth County and west Texas do not 
want this dump. Last night, some of my colleagues talked about the 
election of one official, and they said the people want this dump. This 
candidate was elected, and he was for it. But twenty surrounding 
counties and 13 nearby cities have passed resolutions against it. And 
no city or county in west Texas supports it.
  Nor would any Senator in this Chamber want this waste dump site built 
in their backyard. I doubt whether any Senator in this Chamber has ever 
been faced with this. These waste dump sites are not put where Senators 
live. They are put in the communities disproportionately of color, 
disproportionately low-income. This is a debate about environmental 
justice in our country.
  Over 800 adult residents of Sierra Blanca have signed petitions 
opposing the dump. A 1992 poll, commissioned by the Texas Waste 
Authority, showed 64 percent opposition in Hudspeth and Culberson 
Counties. Republican Congressman Bonilla, who represents Hudspeth 
County, and Democratic Congressmen Reyes and Rodriguez, who represent 
neighboring El Paso and San Antonio, have all actively opposed the dump 
site.
  In an October 1994 statewide poll, 82 percent of Texans said they 
were against it. Local residents have had no say over whether the waste 
dump site will be constructed in Sierra Blanca. They were never 
consulted at any stage in the decision-making process.
  As a matter of fact, Mr. President, a 1984 public opinion survey 
commissioned by the Texas Waste Authority provides some useful context 
for what is going on. Let me just quote from what their consultant 
said. This is the report:

       One population that may benefit from [a public information] 
     campaign is Hispanics, particularly those with little formal 
     education and low incomes. This group is the least informed 
     of all segments of the population. . . . The Authority should 
     be aware, however, that increasing the level of knowledge of 
     Hispanics may simply increase opposition to the [radioactive 
     dump] site, inasmuch as we have discovered a strong 
     relationship in the total sample between increased perceived 
     knowledge and increased opposition.

  The concern is that if this poor Hispanic community finds out more 
about this, they will be opposed to it. Indeed, people in the community 
are opposed. And they should be.
  Mr. President, my colleague, with all due respect, last night said we 
need to have the compact to protect the people in Hudspeth County from 
becoming a national repository of nuclear waste. That is not the way it 
works.
  The conference report on H.R. 629 would allow appointed compact 
commissioners to import radioactive waste from any State or territory. 
And both the State of Texas and nuclear utilities across the country 
will have an economic incentive to bring as much waste as possible to 
make this site economically viable and to reduce their disposal costs.
  Section 3.05, paragraph 6 of the compact provides that the Compact 
Commission may enter into an agreement with any person, State, regional 
body, or group of States for importation of low-level radioactive 
waste. All it requires is a majority vote of the eight unelected 
compact commissioners.
  Mr. President, the Texas Observer, March 28, 1997, had it right:

       More than two or three national dumps will drive fees so 
     low that profit margins anticipated by states (and now 
     private investors) will be threatened. This economic 
     reality--and growing public resistance to the dumps--has 
     raised the very real possibility that the next dump permitted 
     will be the nuclear waste depository for the whole nation, 
     for decades to come.

  Of these nine compacts, I want to point out to my colleagues that not 
one compact has built a nuclear waste dump site.
  Mr. President, here is what is so egregious about what has happened 
here. To avoid turning this low-income, Mexican-American community into 
a national repository for radioactive waste, I offered two amendments. 
Colleagues, this is really what the vote is about. Twice you have been 
on record. The Senate has unanimously said, A, ``We support an 
amendment which makes it clear that the waste can only come from Maine, 
Vermont, and Texas. We support an amendment that puts in the language 
what we say this is about.'' That was passed twice by the unanimous 
vote of the U.S. Senate.
  The second amendment said that the people in Hudspeth County would 
have a chance to prove local discrimination in court, that if they 
could show they have been unfairly targeted then they could go to court 
to challenge this.
  My colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, we have gone on record 
twice supporting these amendments. In the dark of night--no wonder 
people get so disillusioned about this process--the conference 
committee stripped out both amendments, took both amendments out.
  Would it be such a crime if we passed this compact with an amendment 
that made it clear that the waste could only come from Texas, Maine, 
and Vermont? That is what they say the compact is about. Would it be 
such a crime if this Hispanic community had some way of seeking redress 
of grievance and could challenge discrimination in court? That 
amendment was taken out. That is why this compact is flawed. That is 
why we should vote against it.

  Environmental justice is a national responsibility. We have a 
national responsibility to remedy this injustice because if we do not, 
the Congress will be complicit in the construction of this dump.
  This is not purely a State or local issue. We have to vote on it. We 
have to vote up or down. That is what our constitutional system is all 
about. This compact requires congressional consent. The Texas Compact 
cannot take effect without Federal legislation, since all 50 States--
not just the compact States--will be asked to give their consent.
  Construction of the Sierra Blanca dump depends upon enactment of this 
conference report. If we reject it today, Texas will not build a dump 
in Sierra Blanca. But within 60 days of enactment, if you vote for 
this, Maine and Vermont will pay Texas $25 million to begin 
construction.
  Let me point out this is different from all the other compacts 
because it is crystal clear where the site is going to be. The Texas 
Legislature already selected Hudspeth County, and the Texas Waste 
Authority already identified a dump site near Sierra Blanca. That is 
what is at issue here.
  Our consent ought to be conditional. We ought to make it clear that 
the compact can take effect only if the waste comes from these three 
States only. But the conference committee knocked that amendment out--
the utility companies didn't want that.
  We ought to make it clear the people of Hudspeth County at least have 
a right to appeal this site selection. I think people in Maine and 
Vermont agree with that idea, but we took that amendment out.
  This is not a debate about State or local rights. The conference 
committee

[[Page S9811]]

followed the wishes of the nuclear utilities, not the local residents--
the utilities who were going to benefit from cheap disposal of nuclear 
waste. They supported this legislation with no amendments. That is why 
this legislation is so flawed.
  On July 7, 1998, two administrative hearing officers recommended that 
the license for the Sierra Blanca dump be denied. They made a good 
decision. What they said was that this is a tectonically active area. 
We have a very real danger of earthquakes. This does not make sense 
from the point of view of science. And they were right.
  But the problem is that the Texas Environmental Agency, the TNRCC, 
made up of officials appointed by the Governor, are not bound by what 
these hearing officers have recommended. The executive director has 
gone on record saying that he doesn't agree. And the Governor has gone 
on record saying that Hudspeth County and Sierra Blanca is the right 
place for this dump to be.
  I say to my colleagues that we really have two choices here. We can 
say, look, if we don't know where the site is going to be, then let's 
put off the vote. But, no, that is not what we are doing. The idea here 
is to just ram this through. As soon as we do, believe me, it will go 
in Hudspeth County, Sierra Blanca. That will be a travesty.
  I want to just cite for colleagues the broad coalition of religious, 
environmental, social justice and public interest groups that oppose 
this: The League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC; Greenpeace; 
the Texas NAACP; the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of the Texas 
House of Representatives; the Sierra Club; the House Hispanic Caucus; 
the Bishop and the Catholic Diocese of El Paso; the United Methodist 
Church General Board of Church and Society; Friends of the Earth; 
Physicians for Social Responsibility; the League of Conservation 
Voters; and 100 other local and national civic organizations.
  I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a letter from 
Robert Bullard, a professor at Clark Atlanta University, a leading 
expert on environmental justice.
  There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                     Clark Atlanta University,

                                   Atlanta, GA, September 1, 1998.
     Vice President Al Gore,
     The White House,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Vice President Gore: We are pleased to have an 
     administration that cares about people, the environment, and 
     justice. This letter is to express my concern about the 
     Texas/Maine/Vermont Compact and its environmental justice 
     implications. The issue is plain and simple. To allow the 
     compact to go forward would be an act of environmental 
     racism. For this administration to stand silent does not show 
     a commitment to environmental injustice that follows a 
     national pattern of siting waste facilities and other locally 
     unwanted land uses or LULUS in people of color and low-income 
     communities.
       Having written several books and researched environmental 
     problems in communities of color for more than two decades, 
     it is very clear to me that the Sierra Blanca case is a 
     classic case of environmental racism. For this administration 
     to stand silent does not show a commitment to environmental 
     justice or a commitment to protect the civil rights of the 
     residents in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Many grassroots community 
     leaders I have talked to want to see the Clinton 
     Administration come out with a strong, bold, and powerful 
     public statement in opposition to the Texas/Maine/Vermont 
     Compact.
       The people in Texas and across the nation need your help 
     and support.
           Sincerely,
                                                Robert D. Bullard,
                                      Ware Professor and Director.

  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, let me read a portion of the letter.

       This letter is to express my concern about the Texas/Maine/
     Vermont Compact and its environmental justice implications. 
     The issue is plain and simple. To allow the compact to go 
     forward would be an act of environmental injustice that 
     follows a national pattern of siting waste facilities and 
     other LULUs [locally unwanted land uses] in people of color 
     and low-income communities. Having . . . researched 
     environmental problems in communities of color for more than 
     two decades, it is very clear to me that the Sierra Blanca 
     case is a classic case of environmental racism.

  I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine is recognized.
  Ms. SNOWE. How much time do I have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine has 15 minutes 50 
seconds remaining and the Senator from Minnesota has 3 minutes 59 
seconds remaining.
  Ms. SNOWE. May I be informed when I have consumed 10 minutes?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair will inform the Senator when she has 
consumed 10 minutes.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I think it is important this morning to 
review some of the facts regarding this conference report before the 
Senate that creates this Texas Compact, because I do think that some of 
the facts have been lightly regarded during the course of this debate.
  This is nothing that hasn't been done before. This conference report 
will ratify a compact between the States of Texas, Maine and Vermont 
for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste, as has been done on 
nine previous occasions by the U.S. Congress in response to a mandate 
by the Congress in both 1980 and 1985 that required the States to 
accept responsibility for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste.
  Mr. President, 41 States--including the State of Minnesota, the State 
which the Senator represents and who opposes this compact--have entered 
into a compact over the last 20 years in response to the mandate that 
was issued by the U.S. Congress. There are nine such compacts.
  This compact in this conference report does not deviate from the 
previous compacts. The fact of the matter is this compact gives greater 
control to the State of Texas in terms of the determination of the 
siting and all of the other factors to repeatedly and safely dispose of 
low-level radioactive waste. This compact allows the State of Texas, 
the State of Vermont and the State of Maine to do what 41 other States, 
including Senator Wellstone's own State of Minnesota, do--to dispose of 
this low-level radioactive waste. The States are responsible for making 
this determination, whether it is in their State or out of their State, 
for the waste that is generated within their borders.
  There are other factors that have to be clarified here today. The 
Senator from Minnesota said no other States in these compacts have 
determined or designated other sites--which is incorrect--at the time 
of the ratification. In fact, three other compacts--the Northwest, the 
Rocky Mountain and the Southeast, which passed by the Congress in 
1985--had operating facilities that were intentionally designated as 
the compact's regional facility.
  As has been said, the failure of this Congress to ratify this 
conference report to create this compact will result in no facility 
being built in Texas.
  As this chart illustrates, there are 684 such storage sites in the 
State of Texas. They are temporary. They are interim storage 
facilities. What does that mean? It means that they don't have to meet 
all the same strict requirements that a permanent storage facility will 
have to meet. So if this conference report is ratified by the Congress, 
that means the State of Texas can consolidate into one permanent 
facility to meet all of the State, local and Federal requirements.
  It is not, as the Senator from Minnesota has suggested, that we are 
running roughshod, we are going to override all of the strict Federal, 
State and local regulatory requirements with respect to safety and 
health regulations, and of course environmental regulations. This issue 
isn't going to go away. The waste has already been generated. In fact, 
even the administrative law judge wants the commission to go back to 
review essential factors to indicate that the process is working so 
that all of the requirements under Federal, State and local law are 
examined very carefully, in terms of the site, so that it is 
environmentally and geologically safe and sound. But even the 
administrative law judge determined on July 7 that, indeed, the State 
of Texas is in need of a low-level waste disposal site.

  Congress did not put conditions on the nine other compacts that were 
ratified by Congress on previous occasions. So this compact should not 
be dealt with any differently. We are going to adhere to all of the 
safe requirements that have been established in law. So the siting in 
Texas is not being done in a vacuum. To the contrary.
  Just to name a few of the regulatory requirements that have to be 
reviewed and have to be satisfied and have to be adhered to and are 
being done, as included in this book right here that goes through the 
entirety of the process

[[Page S9812]]

that has been implemented in the State of Texas for a siting of a 
facility, there is the Civil Rights Act, which has to be adhered to; 
title VI of the Civil Rights Act has to be regarded; the Clean Water 
Act; the Clean Air Act; the Toxic Substances Control Act; the Atomic 
Energy Act; the 1980 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act; the 1985 
Amendments; the Texas Radiation Control Act, and the Texas Health and 
Safety Code. They all must be adhered to.
  So there is a process. The Senator from Minnesota suggests that there 
has not been a process, or public participation. To the contrary, there 
has been extensive public participation, and the process is not over. 
This compact is site neutral. That doesn't mean to say that the State 
of Texas hasn't been examining the site in Sierra Blanca, but the 
process has not been completed. It is being examined very carefully. 
There has been public participation. There have been numerous hearings 
within Hudspeth County and Sierra Blanca specifically about this issue. 
The Texas Legislature overwhelmingly has supported it in both the house 
and senate, as have the Governors, Governor Richards and Governor Bush; 
the State of Vermont, both legislatures, and the State of Maine, on a 
bipartisan basis. In fact, 24 of the 30 members of the Texas 
congressional delegation are all in support of this conference report. 
So it has been regarded.
  I want to read to my colleagues an open letter to the people of the 
State of Texas from 100 residents of Sierra Blanca and Hudspeth County. 
I ask unanimous consent to have a letter from Judge Peace, the county 
judge, printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                                   Hudspeth County Courthouse,

                               Sierra Blanca, TX, August 25, 1998.
     Hon. Kay Bailey Hutchison,
     Russell Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Hutchison: It is my understanding that the 
     United States Senate will be considering the Texas/Maine/
     Vermont Compact soon. I want to thank you for supporting this 
     important measure. Its passage will bring needed revenue and 
     opportunity to our area. Sierra Blanca has already benefited 
     greatly from the presence of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive 
     Waste Disposal Authority in the area. The benefits (jobs and 
     infrastructure improvement) will increase during construction 
     and operation of the low-level radioactive waste disposal 
     facility. The truth is the socieconomic benefits for the 
     residents of Sierra Blanca are enormous and overwhelmingly 
     positive. Continued economic benefits are absolutely critical 
     to the future development of Hudspeth County.
       I want you to know that the majority of citizens favor the 
     development of such a facility. I have enclosed an 
     advertisement that recently ran in the Austin American 
     Statesman, paid for by donations and community funds. The 
     people of Sierra Blanca and Hudspeth County voiced their 
     support for a better future and tangible real life advances 
     that will make our communities more livable. The 
     advertisement reflects the widespread support in our area for 
     this project; the support runs across the business community 
     to elected officials. During the recent primary elections, 
     this issue was openly debated in the County Judge, 
     Commissioners Court, and County Democratic Chairmanship 
     races; those who supported the project won, while those who 
     opposed it lost.
       Thank you for your continued support. If you have further 
     questions or if I can help you in any other way, please feel 
     free to call.
           Sincerely,
                                             Judge James A. Peace.

  Ms. SNOWE. I want to read this open letter that was placed as an 
advertisement in a local newspaper:

       We support the approval of the license for the proposed 
     radioactive waste disposal facility near our town. It offers 
     hope for a better future and tangible, real-life advances 
     that will make Sierra Blanca and Hudspeth County more 
     livable. The overwhelming majority of residents support this 
     project near our town for the following reasons:
       A halt to exporting our children to other areas for 
     employment; a larger job market for all residents of Sierra 
     Blanca and Hudspeth County; the ripple effect seen from 
     additional businesses and services to support the facility; 
     improved medical care; increased property values; a broader 
     tax base; enhanced infrastructure; disposal fees paid to the 
     county; upward mobility, and an improved standard of living; 
     a better perception of our community by ourselves and others.
       The critics--almost all of whom live outside the 
     community--say the proposed site is not a reasonable road to 
     economic development for Sierra Blanca. We say that these 
     people do not speak for us and that this is our only road in 
     sight.

  I believe the people of Hudspeth County have spoken. I ask unanimous 
consent that this letter be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

          [From the Austin American-Statesman, July 22, 1998]

 An Open Letter to the People of the State of Texas From Residents of 
                Sierra Blanca, Texas and Hudspeth County

       We support the approval of the license for the proposed 
     radioactive waste disposal facility near our town. It offers 
     hope for a better future and tangible, real life advances 
     that will make Sierra Blanca and Hudspeth County more 
     livable. The overwhelming majority of residents support this 
     project near our town for the following reasons:
       A halt to exporting our children to other areas for 
     employment,
       A larger job market for all the residents of Sierra Blanca 
     and Hudspeth County,
       The ripple effect seen from additional businesses and 
     services to support the facility,
       Improved medical care,
       A broader tax base,
       Enhanced infrastructure,
       Disposal fees paid to the County,
       Upward mobility and an improved standard of living, and
       A better perception of our community by ourselves and 
     others.
       Until the proposed project, the only method of upward 
     mobility and economic development for the residents of Sierra 
     Blanca was a bus ticket out of town. There was little hope 
     for economic progress. Sierra Blanca was destined to be a 
     small, remote, dying community.
       The critics--almost all of whom live outside the 
     community--say the proposed site is not a reasonable road to 
     economic development for Sierra Blanca. We say that these 
     people do not speak for us and that this is the only road in 
     sight.
       After four years of intensive review, TNRCC issued a 
     favorable Environmental Assessment. We are totally satisfied 
     that the project will be safe and the residents of Sierra 
     Blanca want it to be licensed. It is a sign of hope and a 
     brighter future.
       The only negative socio-economic impact would be the denial 
     of the license and the decision to site the facility 
     elsewhere.

  Ms. SNOWE. The fact of the matter is that there has been extensive 
public participation, and it has not been completed. In fact, there 
were local elections in Hudspeth County, and all of the candidates who 
were in support of this facility were elected or reelected. I think 
that speaks volumes. This was an issue in those campaigns. I will also 
submit for the Record the list of supporters of the compact and the 
following letters; a letter from nine Texas Members of the House of 
Representatives; the Governors of Maine, Texas and Vermont; a letter 
from the National Governors' Association; the National Conference of 
State Legislatures; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; a ``Dear 
Colleague'' by two members of the Texas House of Representatives. All 
of them are in support of the Texas Compact before us here today.
  I ask unanimous consent that the list and these letters be printed in 
the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                 Support for Texas Compact Consent Act


    Organizational Support (18 national organizations, 11 regional 
                             organizations)

       Organizations United (American Association of Physicists in 
     Medicine, American College of Nuclear Physicians, American 
     Council on Education, American Heart Association, American 
     Medical Association, American Nuclear Society, American 
     Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Appalachian Compact Users of 
     Radioactive Isotopes Association, Association of American 
     Medical Colleges, California Radioactive Materials Management 
     Forum, Council on Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals, 
     Edison Electrical Institute, Health Physics Society, 
     International Isotope Society, Michigan Coalition of 
     Radioactive Material Users, National Association of Cancer 
     Patients, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, 
     Nuclear Energy Institute, Pharmaceutical Research and 
     Manufacturers of America, Society of Nuclear Medicine, 
     Society of Prospective Medicine); Robert Carretta, Chair, 
     Organizations United.--March 16, 1998; May 1, 1996.
       Society of Nuclear Medicine, Southwestern Chapter; 
     Resolution. Southwestern Chapter of the Society of Nuclear 
     Medicine.--April 1997.
       Texas Radiological Society; Resolution. Texas Radiological 
     Society.--April 4, 1997.
       Texas Medical Association; Resolution. Texas Medical 
     Association.--April 4, 1997.
       Texas Radiation Advisory Board; Resolution. Texas Radiation 
     Advisory Board.--March 16, 1996.
       Health Physics Society; Resolution. South Texas Chapter of 
     the Health Physics Society.--February 24, 1996. Resolution. 
     North Texas Chapter of the Health Physics Society.--February 
     22, 1996.
       Radiation Safety Officers; Resolution. Radiation Safety 
     Officers Advisory Group of

[[Page S9813]]

     the University of Texas System.--February 12, 1996.
       Texas Society of Professional Engineers; Resolution. Texas 
     Society of Professional Engineers.--January 26, 1996.
       California Radioactive Materials Management Forum; Alan 
     Pasternak, Technical Director, California Radioactive 
     Materials Management Forum.--October 6, 1997.
                                  ____



                                               Washington, DC,

                                                   March 13, 1998.
     Hon. Paul Wellstone,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Wellstone: As members of the Texas delegation, 
     we urge you to lift your hold on H.R. 629/ S. 270, the Texas 
     Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact.
       This bill follows the guidelines set forth by Congress in 
     1985, setting up a compact for the disposal of low-level 
     radioactive waste. The legislation is strongly supported by 
     the three states affected--Texas, Maine, and Vermont--and 
     H.R. 629 passed the House by an overwhelming vote of 309-107.
       We appreciate the concerns that have been expressed about 
     radioactive waste, and the impact that it could have on our 
     environment if not properly handled. We agree that these are 
     important issues which must be fully and completely 
     examined--a process that is currently under way in Texas 
     through an intense administrative hearing process.
       But ultimately, low-level radioactive waste exists and all 
     parties are better served if there are safe and secure 
     disposal facilities. While this may not be the best solution 
     for all states--such as Minnesota--the Texas State 
     Legislature, in conjunction with the state leadership of 
     Vermont and Maine, has come to agreement for the waste 
     generated in those states.
       Finally, concerns have been raised regarding the location 
     of the proposed disposal site in Texas. This site was not 
     selected by the U.S. Congress, and the bill before us does 
     not reference a specific site.
       We urge you to lift your hold on this Texas bill so that 
     the process may move forward and this agreement may be 
     implemented.
         Chet Edwards, Martin Frost, Max Sandlin, Eddie Bernice 
           Johnson, Ralph Hall, Charles W. Stenholm, Ken Bentsen, 
           Gene Green, Jim Turner.
                                  ____

                                                   State of Texas,


                                       Office of the Governor,

                                        Austin, TX, July 15, 1997.
       Dear Senator: As the Governors of the member states, we 
     strongly urge passage by the U.S. Senate of S. 270, the Texas 
     Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act.
       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 
     all three Governors. 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.
       It is important to remember that S. 270 is site neutral--a 
     vote on S. 270 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 formal licensing proceedings. Currently, the Texas 
     Natural Resource Conservation Commission is conducting the 
     appropriate hearings.
       Please vote to supply the member states of the Texas 
     Compact with the same protections that you have already given 
     42 states in the nine previously approved compacts. Thank you 
     for your time and attention on this very important matter. We 
     appreciate all efforts made on behalf of states' rights.
           Sincerely,
     George W. Bush.
     Howard Dean, M.D.
     Angus S. King, Jr.
                                  ____



                               National Governors Association,

                                                    March 2, 1998.
       Dear Member of Congress: On behalf of the National 
     Governors' Association, we urge you to adopt S. 270 without 
     amendment. This bill provides congressional consent to the 
     Texas-Maine-Vermont Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact. The 
     National Governors' Association (NGA) policy in support of 
     this compact is attached. We are convinced that this 
     voluntary compact provides for the safe and responsible 
     disposal of low-level waste produced in the three member 
     states.
       As you know, under the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy 
     Act (LLRWPA) of 1980, Congress mandated that states assume 
     responsibility for disposal of low level radioactive waste, 
     and created a compact system that provides states with the 
     legal authority to restrict, dispose of, and manage waste. 
     Since 1995, forty-one states have entered into nine 
     congressional approved compacts without amendments or 
     objections. The Texas-Maine-Vermont Compact deserves to be 
     the tenth.
       Your support for this bipartisan measure, which has the 
     full support and cooperation of the Governors and 
     legislatures of the three participant states, will be 
     crucial.
       If you have any questions concerning this matter, please 
     don't hesitate to contact Tom Curtis of the NGA staff at 
     (202) 624-5389.
           Sincerely,
     Governor George V. Veinovich,
       Chairman, National Governors' Association.
     Governor Tom Carper,
       Vice Chairman, National Governors' Association.
                                  ____

                                               National Conference


                                        of State Legislatures,

                                   Washington, DC, March 11, 1998.
     Re: S. 270, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal 
         Compact Consent Act


         NCSL urges you to support this bill WITHOUT AMENDMENT

     Hon. Trent Lott,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Lott: The National Conference of State 
     Legislatures (NCSL) urges you to support S. 270, the Texas 
     Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act, 
     which will allow the states of Maine, Texas, and Vermont to 
     continue to work together to develop a facility in Hudspeth 
     County, Texas for the disposal of the low-level radioactive 
     waste produced in those three states. NCSL has consistently 
     reiterated its firm belief that states must be allowed to 
     exercise their authority over the storage and disposal of 
     low-level radioactive waste, authority that was granted to 
     them by Congress in the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy 
     Act of 1980 and the Low-Level Waste Policy Act Amendments of 
     1985.
       NCSL is concerned about H.R. 629, the version of the Texas 
     Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act 
     which passed through the House of Representatives last 
     October. H.R. 629 was amended with language that was not in 
     the compact as approved by the Maine, Texas and Vermont state 
     legislatures. No low-level radioactive waste compact between 
     states has ever been amended by Congress. We believe that the 
     amendments to H.R. 629 would establish an unfortunate 
     precedent for Congressional tinkering with agreements that 
     have already been passed by their relevant state 
     legislatures.
       The states of Maine, Texas, and Vermont have already 
     expended significant time and resources in order to negotiate 
     an agreement on the Hudspeth County facility. It would be 
     inappropriate for Congress to attempt to alter a valid effort 
     by the Compact states to meet their responsibilities under 
     the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act. We urge you to 
     support S. 270 without amendment.
           Sincerely,
     Craig Peterson,
       Utah State Senate, Chair, NCSL Environment Committee.
     Carol S. Petzold,
       Maryland House of Delegates, Chair, NCSL Energy & 
     Transportation Committee
                                  ____



                                Nuclear Regulatory Commission,

                                   Washington, DC, March 20, 1998.
     Hon. Olympia J. Snowe,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Snowe: In response to the request from your 
     staff, here are the views of the Nuclear Regulatory 
     Commission (NRC) on two proposed amendments to S. 270, a bill 
     to provide the consent of Congress to the Texas Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste (LLW) Disposal Compact. The proposed 
     amendments would add two new conditions to the conditions of 
     consent to the compact: (1) that no LLW may be brought into 
     Texas for disposal at a compact facility from any State other 
     than Maine or Vermont (referred to below as the ``exclusion'' 
     amendment): and (2) that ``the compact not be implemented . . 
     . in any way that discriminates against any community 
     (through disparate treatment or disparate impact) by reason 
     of the composition of the community in terms of race, color, 
     national origin, or income level'' (referred to below as the 
     ``discrimination clause''). These amendments raise some 
     significant questions of concern to the NRC.
       First, no other Congressional compact ratification 
     legislation has included such conditions to Congress' 
     consent. Making the Congressional consent for this compact 
     different from that for other compacts would create an 
     asymmetrical system and could lead to conflicts among 
     regions. In the past, Congress has set a high priority on 
     establishing a consistent set of rules under which the 
     interstate compact system for LLW disposal would operate.
       With respect to the exclusion condition, while the Low-
     Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 and the Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 authorize 
     compact States to exclude LLW from outside their compact 
     region, the terms of doing so are left to the States. This is 
     consistent with the intent of these statutes to make LLW 
     disposal the responsibility of the States and to leave the 
     implementation of that responsibility largely to the States' 
     discretion. Thus, the addition of the exclusion condition to 
     the compact would deprive the party States of the ability to 
     make their own choices as to how to handle this important 
     area. In addition, restriction on importation of LLW into 
     Texas to waste coming

[[Page S9814]]

     from Maine or Vermont could prevent other compacts (or non-
     compact States) from contracting with the Texas compact for 
     disposal of their waste (such as has occurred between the 
     Rocky Mountain and Northwest compacts). This type of 
     arrangement with existing LLW disposal facilities may well 
     become a preferred economical method of LLW disposal. It is 
     also important to note that the exclusion condition may 
     hamper NRC emergency access to the Texas facility pursuant to 
     section 8 of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy 
     Amendments Act of 1985.
       With respect to the discrimination clause, the Commission 
     supports the general objectives of efforts to address 
     discrimination involving ``race, color, national origin, or 
     income level.'' However, it is unclear how a condition 
     containing broad language of the type contained in the 
     proposed amendment would be applied in a specific case 
     involving a compact. This lack of clarity is likely to create 
     confusion and uncertainty for all parties involved, and could 
     lead to costly, time-consuming litigation. Including such a 
     provision in binding legislation may have broad significance 
     for the affected States and other parties and would appear to 
     warrant extensive Congressional review of its implications.
       In light of the above, the NRC opposes the approval of 
     amendments to S. 270 that would incorporate the exclusion 
     condition or an undefined discrimination clause into the 
     Texas compact bill.
           Sincerely,
     Shirley Ann Jackson.
                                  ____



                                     House of Representatives,

                                                   Washington, DC.
       Dear CBC Member: We are writing to ask you to vote for H.R. 
     629, a bill we both are cosponsoring to ratify the Texas-
     Maine-Vermont Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact.
       Although H.R. 629 specifically provides Congressional 
     consent for the Texas, Maine, and Vermont Compact which 
     provides for the safe, responsible disposal of low-level 
     waste produced in those three states, every state has a stake 
     in the success of this compact. The Low-Level Radioactive 
     Waste Policy Act (LLRWPA) of 1980 requires states to manage 
     the disposal of low-level waste. The compact system provides 
     a mechanism for states to ensure their control over the 
     origin of the waste and allows the individual host staet--
     with input from interested citizens--to determine the 
     appropriate location for the disposal site.
       Your state may or may not be one of the 41 states that have 
     entered into the 9 compacts previously ratified by congress. 
     Either way, passage of H.R. 629 will reaffirm your State's 
     right both to control local land use and, subject to federal 
     and state health, safety, and environmental laws, to 
     determine the best and safest location for disposing of your 
     State's waste.
       Through bipartisan cooperation, the Governors and 
     Legislatures of Texas, Vermont, and Maine negotiated and 
     ratified this Compact in full compliance with all federal and 
     state laws. Since 1985, nine other compacts comprising 41 
     states have been ratified by congress without amendment or 
     objection. Please join us in helping all of our States to 
     protect the health and safety of our citizens by co-
     sponsoring and voting for the Texas-Maine-Vermont Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste Compact ratification bill.
       In the last Congress, some members of the Texas delegation 
     opposed ratification of the Compact because of concerns over 
     the location for the proposed site in Texas. We are satisfied 
     that all appropriate health, safety, and environmental 
     concerns are being addressed in a responsible manner by the 
     Texas state government.
       The Commerce Committee reported H.R. 629 on June 25th. The 
     bill will be coming to the floor soon. We strongly urge you 
     to vote for this bill.
     Eddie Bernice Johnson,
       Member of Congress.
     Sheila Jackson Lee,
       Member of Congress.

  Ms. SNOWE. The fact of the matter is that there has been a public 
process. There has been very careful evaluation and concern about the 
views of the constituents in the local area of Hudspeth County, of 
Sierra Blanca, of the State of Texas. The fact is, the Senator from 
Minnesota wants to treat the States of Texas, Vermont, and Maine 
differently from 41 other States, including the Senator's own State of 
Minnesota.
  The States of Texas, Vermont, and Maine are doing just what the 
Congress required them to do--enter into a compact. The failure of this 
Congress to approve this conference report and ratify this compact 
would mean that the State of Texas could not create one safe permanent 
disposal for low-level radioactive waste; that they would have to 
maintain 684 temporary storage facilities that do not meet the strict 
Federal, State and local requirements that this permanent facility 
would be required to meet.
  So, Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to adopt this conference 
report. I reserve the balance of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Inhofe). The Senator has 9 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, how much time do I have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 4 minutes remaining.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, would the Chair please notify me when I 
have 2 minutes remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator will be so notified.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, A, this is the only compact the Senate 
has considered where we have a site identified for construction of a 
compact dump. In this particular case, 90 percent or more of that waste 
is going to come from nuclear power plants.
  B, with all due respect to my colleague, the argument that the people 
in Sierra Blanca and Hudspeth County want this is an argument that just 
cannot be accepted on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Eight hundred adult 
residents of this town of Sierra Blanca signed petitions in opposition. 
A 1992 poll commissioned by the Texas Waste Authority showed 64 percent 
in opposition. In a poll in 1994, 82 percent of Texans were against it. 
It just doesn't wash.
  Third, as colleagues follow this debate, again, the Texas legislature 
selected Hudspeth County. The Texas Waste Authority selected the Sierra 
Blanca site after the Authority's own scoping study said it is not 
scientifically suitable. But this was the path of least political 
resistance. This is an issue of environmental justice. This is being 
put on the back of a community that is disproportionately Hispanic and 
poor. That is what today's article in the New York Times is all about.
  Finally, let me name some of the members of a coalition of religious, 
environmental, social justice and public interest groups who oppose the 
compact. I cite the League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC. 
The Latino community should make us accountable on this vote. This is 
an issue of environmental justice. Then there is GreenPeace, the Texas 
NAACP, the Texas House of Representatives Mexican-American Legislative 
Caucus, the Sierra Club, the House Hispanic Caucus, and the League of 
Conservation Voters. I reserve my final 2 minutes, the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, let me go back to the basic reason we are 
debating this Compact today. This Compact is before the Senate today 
because we shifted the responsibility to manage low-level nuclear waste 
to the states almost a decade ago. Congress encouraged the states to 
enter into compacts to share this responsibility. Forty-one states have 
already followed our direction by entering into compacts very similar 
to the one we have before us today. With the expectation that Congress 
would ratify their compact, just like we have nine other times, the 
states of Texas, Vermont and Maine entered into this Compact.
  That was more than four years ago. We have delayed this Compact long 
enough. The amendments that Senator Wellstone offered to the Compact 
when it passed the Senate earlier this year would delay implementation 
of this Compact even further. When the Conference Committee considered 
these amendments, we not only heard opposition to the amendments from 
the National Governors' Association and the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, but also from each of the governors of Texas, Maine and 
Vermont.
  Their letter urges Congress to pass the Compact without amendments. 
The letter makes it clear that the governors believe that the 
amendments would require re-ratification by the states and would 
undoubtedly lead to costly and time-consuming litigation. But their 
letter raises what I think is the most important question: what is our 
role in ratifying this Compact? Congress has passed nine other compacts 
without any amendments. In fact, we passed them by unanimous consent. 
So why is this Compact so different? Contrary to Senator Wellstone's 
statement, the Compact makes no mention of a site. Nowhere in this 
legislation will you find a mention of Sierra Blanca, Texas. The people 
of Texas will make a decision for themselves. The Compact will not.
  We are not here to select the site for them. We are not here to write 
the Compact agreement for them. We are not here to decide how much 
waste should be deposited at the facility or where that waste should 
come from. The states have already made those decisions for themselves. 
As the governors pointed out, the Wellstone amendments would have been 
an ``infringement on state sovereignty.'' It

[[Page S9815]]

would have been the first time Congress amended an original contract 
negotiated by the states. Inclusion of these amendments in the Compact 
would deny the states the right Congress gave them to make their own 
choices as to how to handle disposal of low-level nuclear waste.
  The amendments offered to the Compact by Senator Wellstone were 
inappropriate. I can understand Senator Wellstone's concern that too 
many sources of pollution and waste facilities are targeted to minority 
and low-income areas, but one of his amendments would have created new 
opportunities for litigation that go far beyond the ``environmental 
justice'' guidance recently proposed by the Environmental Protection 
Agency. The amendment would also apply federal environmental justice 
standards to states for the first time. Congress should address the 
issue of environmental justice. But we should take the time to do it 
right, not through amendments to an agreement between three states that 
are following the lead of nine other similar agreements.
  The second amendment attached by Senator Wellstone also expands the 
role of Congress in approving these compacts. This Compact is the 
result of years of negotiation among the three states and approved by 
the legislatures of those states. Senator Wellstone argues that his 
amendment would give Texas protection from having to accept waste from 
states other than Maine and Vermont. However, the Compact already gives 
Texas the majority vote in deciding if and from whom additional waste 
may come. This amendment is unnecessary and would only lead to further 
delay of the Compact since it will likely require re-ratification by 
the member states. In fact, under the Wellstone amendment, Texas may be 
more open to accepting waste from other states because it would not 
have the protection of the exclusionary provisions of the Compact.
  The States of Texas, Maine and Vermont have done their job. They have 
negotiated a compact among them to provide for the responsible disposal 
of low-level radioactive waste and submitted it to this body as 
required under Federal statute, for the consent of the Congress. Now, 
we need to do our job. Those Senators who support the basic premise 
that we agreed to in 1980, that states should have the responsibility 
to dispose of their waste, should vote for this bill. It is the 
responsibility of Congress to follow through on the direction we gave 
to states in 1980 and ratify this Compact.
  Ms. SNOWE addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I am very pleased to be able to yield 4 
minutes to my colleague from the State of Texas, Senator Hutchison.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Thank you, Mr. President. I thank the Senator from 
Maine.
  Mr. President, I think it should be noted that all six Senators from 
three affected States are supportive of this legislation.
  I want to begin my remarks with the most important thing I can 
possibly say, and that is, I would never support a hazardous waste site 
in my State that wasn't in full compliance with Federal and Texas 
environmental laws and regulations. This is the most important of all 
of the things that I could possibly say.
  This compact came about because of Federal legislation--the Low-Level 
Radioactive Waste Policy Act and its 1985 amendments. They allowed 
States to come together, and encouraged States to come together, to 
find waste disposal facilities that would meet the needs of our 
country.
  In fact, all of us would love not to have any waste that would be put 
anywhere. But if we didn't have waste, we wouldn't have medical 
remedies, we wouldn't have the cures for people's diseases. That is 
what this waste is. It is not nuclear waste. It not high-level 
hazardous waste. It is low-level medical waste.
  The law has created 41 States that have formed 9 low-level 
radioactive waste compacts. Minnesota is a member of one such compact 
ratified by Congress in 1985. Nine compacts have been formed. And the 
compact that Texas, Maine, and Vermont have created is no different 
from these, and it seeks to provide the citizens of our three States 
the same protections enjoyed by the State of Minnesota and the other 40 
States that have formed compacts.
  I think it is very important that we address the issue of how this 
came about.
  A compact agreement was negotiated by former Governor Ann Richards 
with the Governors of Maine and Vermont. The compact was overwhelmingly 
approved by the Texas State Legislature and signed by Governor Richards 
in 1993. That compact now enjoys the support of our current Governor, 
George Bush, and our Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock.
  Maine's compact was passed by their legislature and signed in 1993. 
It also passed a State-wide referendum. In Vermont, legislation was 
passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in 1994. I don't 
think the Federal Government has a mandate to nullify a contract among 
three State Governors and ratified by their legislatures.
  I think it is also important that we address the local issue that has 
been addressed by the Senator from Minnesota.
  We have not yet--the three States together, nor the State of Texas--
decided on a place for this radioactive waste. However, there is 
careful consideration being given to Hudspeth County, which is the 
focus of where they are looking for the site of this low-level waste 
compact as a place where they are going to put the waste.
  Hudspeth County is the third largest county in Texas, with 4,566 
square miles. It has a population of 3,200 people.
  I want my colleagues to know that the vast majority of the county's 
leadership support locating this facility in Hudspeth County as long as 
it is done in an environmentally safe way, which the Governor has 
promised will happen or it will not be created.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senator 
from Texas have 2 additional minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine has only 1 additional 
minute remaining.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I was informed earlier that I had 9 minutes 
remaining.
  I ask unanimous consent for 1 additional minute and the Senator from 
Minnesota to have an additional minute.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I certainly will not object. My 
understanding is that the Senator from Texas needed additional time.
  If additional time is added on your side and then added to my side as 
well, that will be fine with me.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. There is one other addition I would like to have, and 
that is that the Senator from Minnesota have an additional 1 minute as 
well.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, what is 
the agreement?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. I think this side would have 4 additional 
minutes remaining, of which the Senator from Texas would use 1, and you 
would have 3 additional minutes remaining.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. So the additional minutes added to the side in favor 
of this would be the same as the amount of time added to the 
opposition. Is that correct?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is not correct.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. That is not correct?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There would be 2 additional minutes remaining, 
and you would be getting 1 additional minute.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I will say what would be fair would be 2 additional 
minutes on each side.
  Ms. SNOWE. I agree with that.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I yield 2 minutes to the Senator from 
Texas.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.

[[Page S9816]]

  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Thank you, Mr. President.
  It is very important that the people of our country know that the 
people of Hudspeth County want this low-level waste authority. They in 
fact had an election this past May in the primaries. The county 
elections were held. And every opponent of the Low-Level Radioactive 
Waste Compact who sought office in Hudspeth County lost.
  I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a letter of 
support from the Hudspeth County judge, James Peace, and 300 community 
leaders in the county in support of the compact; and, furthermore, 
letters from the National Governors' Association, the Western 
Governors' Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, 
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the United States, the M.D. 
Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the University of Texas System, the 
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, and the 
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
  There being no obligation, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                               National Governors Association,

                                    Washington, DC, March 2, 1998.
       Dear Member of Congress: On behalf of the National 
     Governors' Association, we urge you to adopt S. 270 without 
     amendment. This bill provides congressional consent to the 
     Texas-Maine-Vermont Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact. The 
     National Governor's Association (NGA) policy in support of 
     this compact is attached. We are convinced that this 
     voluntary compact provides for the safe and responsible 
     disposal of low-level waste produced in the three member 
     states.
       As you know, under the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy 
     Act (LLRWPA) of 1980, Congress mandated that states assume 
     responsibility for disposal of low level radioactive waste, 
     and created a compact system that provided states with the 
     legal authority to restrict, dispose of, and manage waste. 
     Since 1995, forty-one states have entered into nine 
     congressional approved compacts without amendments or 
     objections. The Texas-Maine-Vermont Compact deserves to be 
     the tenth.
       Your support for this bipartisan measure, which has the 
     full support and cooperation of the Governors and 
     legislatures of the three participant states, will be 
     crucial.
       If you have any questions concerning this matter, please 
     don't hesitate to contact Tom Curtis of the NGA staff at 
     (202) 624-5389.
           Sincerely,
     Gov. George V. Voinovich,
       Chairman.
     Gov. Tom Carper,
       Vice Chairman.
                                  ____



                               Western Governors' Association,

                                   Washington, DC, March 12, 1998.
       Dear Senator: The Western Governors' Association urges you 
     and your fellow Senators to pass S. 270, without amendment. 
     This legislation would ratify the Texas-Maine-Vermont Low 
     Level Radioactive Waste Compact. Congress envisioned this 
     type of compact when it passed the Low Level Radioactive 
     Waste Policy Act (LLRWA) of 1980. This Compact is a voluntary 
     group of states which joined together to identify and operate 
     a site for the disposal of low level radioactive waste. The 
     site and management program is fully supported by the 
     Governor of Texas, the host state.
       As you know, Congress requires the states to take 
     responsibility for the proper disposal of the low level 
     radioactive waste generated within their borders, and created 
     the compact system to allow states to join together to meet 
     this mandate. The Western Governors support such compacts 
     particularly when the states join voluntarily and when the 
     host governor supports the location and operation of the 
     disposal site.
       Your vote for adoption of S. 270, without amendment, is 
     critical to its ratification. This will allow the three 
     states to move towards complying with the LLRWA.
       If you have questions please contact me or Rich Bechtel, 
     Director of the WGA Washington Office.
           Sincerely,
     James M. Souby.
                                  ____

                                            National Conference of


                                           State Legislatures,

                                   Washington, DC, March 11, 1998.
     Re S. 270, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal 
         Compact Consent Act NCSL urges you to support this bill 
         without amendment.
     Hon. Trent Lott,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Lott: The National Conference of State 
     Legislatures (NCSL) urges you to support S. 270, the Texas 
     Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act, 
     which will allow the states of Maine, Texas, and Vermont to 
     continue to work together to develop a facility in Hudspeth 
     County, Texas for the disposal of the low-level radioactive 
     waste produced in those three states. NCSL has consistently 
     reiterated its firm belief that states must be allowed to 
     exercise their authority over the storage and disposal of 
     low-level radioactive waste, authority that was granted to 
     them by Congress in the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy 
     Act of 1980 and the Low-Level Waste Policy Act Amendments of 
     1985.
       NCSL is concerned about H.R. 629, the version of the Texas 
     Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act 
     which passed through the House of Representatives last 
     October. H.R. 629 was amended with language that was not in 
     the compact as approved by the Maine, Texas and Vermont state 
     legislatures. No low-level radioactive waste compact between 
     states has ever been amended by Congress. We believe that the 
     amendments to H.R. 629 would establish an unfortunate 
     precedent for Congressional tinkering with agreements that 
     have already been passed by their relevant state 
     legislatures.
       The states of Maine, Texas, and Vermont have already 
     expended significant time and resources in order to negotiate 
     an agreement on the Hudspeth County facility. It would be 
     inappropriate for Congress to attempt to alter a valid effort 
     by the Compact states to meet their responsibilities under 
     the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act. We urge you to 
     support S. 270 without amendment.
           Sincerely,
     Craig Peterson,
       Utah State Senate, Chair, NCSL Environment Committee.
     Carol S. Petzold,
       Maryland House of Delegates, Chair, NCSL Energy & 
     Transportation Committee.
                                  ____

                                                      U.S. Nuclear


                                        Regulatory Commission,

                                   Washington, DC, March 20, 1998.
     Hon. Olympia J. Snowe,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Snowe: In response to the request from your 
     staff, here are the views of the Nuclear Regulatory 
     Commission (NRC) on two proposed amendments to S. 270, a bill 
     to provide the consent of Congress to the Texas Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste (LLW) Disposal Compact. The proposed 
     amendments would add two new conditions to the conditions of 
     consent to the compact: (1) that no LLW may be brought into 
     Texas for disposal at a compact facility from any State other 
     than Maine or Vermont (referred to below as the ``exclusion'' 
     amendment); and (2) that ``the compact not be implemented . . 
     . in any way that discriminates against any community 
     (through disparate treatment or disparate impact) by reason 
     of the composition of the community in terms of race, color, 
     national origin, or income level'' (referred to below as the 
     ``discrimination clause''). These amendments raise some 
     significant questions of concern to the NRC.
       First, no other Congressional compact ratification 
     legislation has included such conditions to Congress' 
     consent. Making the Congressional consent for this compact 
     different from that for other compacts would create an 
     asymmetrical system and could lead to conflicts among 
     regions. In the past, Congress has set a high priority on 
     establishing a consistent set of rules under which the 
     interstate compact system for LLW disposal would operate.
       With respect to the exclusion condition, while the Low-
     Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 and the Low-Level 
     Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 authorize 
     compact States to exclude LLW from outside their compact 
     region, the terms of doing so are left to the States. This is 
     consistent with the intent of these statutes to make LLW 
     disposal the responsibility of the States and to leave the 
     implementation of that responsibility largely to the States' 
     discretion. Thus, the addition of the exclusion condition to 
     the compact would deprive the party States of the ability to 
     make their own choices as to how to handle this important 
     area. In addition, restriction on importation of LLW into 
     Texas to waste coming from Maine or Vermont could prevent 
     other compacts (or non-compact States) from contracting with 
     the Texas compact for disposal of their waste (such as has 
     occurred between the Rocky Mountain and Northwest compacts). 
     This type of arrangement with existing LLW disposal 
     facilities may well become a preferred economical method of 
     LLW disposal. It is also important to note that the exclusion 
     condition may hamper NRC emergency access to the Texas 
     facility pursuant to section 8 of the Low-Level Radioactive 
     Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985.
       With respect to the discrimination clause, the Commission 
     supports the general objectives of efforts to address 
     discrimination involving ``race, color, national origin, or 
     income level.'' However, it is unclear how a condition 
     containing broad language of the type contained in the 
     proposed amendment would be applied in a specific case 
     involving a compact. This lack of clarity is likely to create 
     confusion and uncertainty for all parties involved, and could 
     lead to costly, time-consuming litigation. Including such a 
     provision in binding legislation may have broad significance 
     for the affected States and other parties and would appear to 
     warrant extensive Congressional review of its implications.
       In light of the above, the NRC opposes the approval of 
     amendments to S. 270 that would

[[Page S9817]]

     incorporate the exclusion condition or an undefined 
     discrimination clause into the Texas compact bill.
           Sincerely,
     Shirley Ann Jackson.
                                  ____



                                        Hudspeth County Judge,

                               Sierra Blanca, TX, August 25, 1998.
     Hon. Kay Bailey Hutchison,
     Russell Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Hutchison: It is my understanding that the 
     United States Senate will be considering the Texas/Maine/
     Vermont Compact soon. I want to thank you for supporting this 
     important measure. Its passage will bring needed revenue and 
     opportunity to our area. Sierra Blanca has already benefited 
     greatly from the presence of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive 
     Waste Disposal Authority in the area. The benefits (jobs and 
     infrastructure improvement) will increase during construction 
     and operation of the low-level radioactive waste disposal 
     facility. The truth is the socioeconomic benefits for the 
     residents of Sierra Blanca are enormous and overwhelmingly 
     positive. Continued economic benefits are absolutely critical 
     to the future development of Hudspeth County.
       I want you to know that the majority of citizens favor the 
     development of such a facility. I have enclosed an 
     advertisement that recently ran in the Austin American 
     Statesman, paid for by donations and community funds. The 
     people of Sierra Blanca and Hudspeth County voiced their 
     support for a better future and tangible real life advances 
     that will make our communities more livable. The 
     advertisement reflects the widespread support in our area for 
     this project; the support runs across the business community 
     to elected officials. During the recent primary elections, 
     this issue was openly debated in the County Judge, 
     Commissioners Court, and County Democratic Chairmanship 
     races; those who supported the project won, while those who 
     opposed it lost.
       Thank you for your continued support. If you have further 
     questions or if I can help you in any other way, please feel 
     free to call.
           Sincerely,
     James A. Peace.
                                  ____


          [From the Austin American-Statesman, July 22, 1998]

 An Open Letter to the People of the State of Texas From Residents of 
                Sierra Blanca, Texas and Hudspeth County

       We support the approval of the license for the proposed 
     radioactive waste disposal facility near our town. It offers 
     hope for a better future and tangible, real life advances 
     that will make Sierra Blanca and Hudspeth County more 
     livable. The overwhelming majority of residents support this 
     project near our town for the following reasons:

     A halt to exporting our children to other areas for 
         employment
     A larger job market for all the residents of Sierra Blanca 
         and Hudspeth County
     The ripple effect seen from additional businesses and 
         services to support the facility
     Improved medical care
     Increased property values
     A broader tax base
     Enhanced infrastructure
     Disposal fees paid to the County
     Upward mobility and an improved standard of living
     A better perception of our community by ourselves and others

       Until the proposed project, the only method of upward 
     mobility and economic development for the residents of Sierra 
     Blanca was a bus ticket out of town. There was little hope 
     for economic progress. Sierra Blanca was destined to be a 
     small, remote, dying community.
       The critics--almost all of whom live outside the 
     community--say the proposed site is not a reasonable road to 
     economic development for Sierra Blanca. We say that these 
     people do not speak for us and that this is the only road in 
     sight.
       After four years of intensive review, TNRCC issued a 
     favorable Environmental Assessment. We are totally satisfied 
     that the project will be safe and the residents of Sierra 
     Blanca want it to be licensed. It is a sign of hope and a 
     brighter future.
       The only negative socio-economic impact would be the denial 
     of the license and the decision to site the facility 
     elsewhere.
                                  ____

                                           The University of Texas


                                    MD Anderson Cancer Center,

                                   Houston, TX, February 20, 1995.
     Hon. Henry Bonilla,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Representative Bonilla: Early this session, Congress 
     will have the opportunity to ratify the Texas Compact, an 
     interstate compact entered into by Texas, Maine and Vermont 
     for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste at a joint 
     facility. As President of The University of Texas M.D. 
     Anderson Cancer Center at Houston, I write to tell you of the 
     great importance of this legislation to M.D. Anderson Cancer 
     Center.
       Along with five other health related components of The 
     University of Texas System, M.D. Anderson engages in 
     important research and medical activities which require the 
     use of radioactive materials. Such materials are an essential 
     part of biomedical research into illness like cancer, AIDS, 
     and Alzheimer's disease. Radioactive matter is used 
     extensively in the development of new drugs and is critical 
     to the process of diagnosing and treating patients. For 
     example, radioactive tracer elements are used to detect 
     coronary artery disease and lung and bone scans help locate 
     blood clots or cancerous cells. Radiation therapy is also 
     effective in controlling the spread of many types of cancer.
       The low-level radioactive waste generated by research and 
     detection and treatment of illnesses must be disposed of in a 
     responsible, permanent manner. Ratification of the compact 
     between Texas, Maine and Vermont will provide Texas with $25 
     million, sent by the other two states, to help defray the 
     costs involved with developing a safe facility. This 
     legislation which will be sponsored by Congressman Jack 
     Fields and several co-sponsors from the Texas delegation, 
     finalizes years of negotiations between the states and 
     safeguards Texas against having to accept out-of-compact 
     waste in the future.
       Again, I urge your support of the Texas Compact and your 
     consideration to join Congressman Fields as a co-sponsor. 
     Congress gave the states a mandate to manage their low-level 
     radioactive waste. With your vote for ratification, Texas can 
     move forward toward that goal.
           Sincerely,
                                             Charles A. LeHaistre,
     President.
                                  ____

                                             Texas Tech University


                            Health Sciences Center at El Paso,

                                    El Paso, TX, October 17, 1995.
     Kay Bailey Hutchinson,
     Russell Senate Bldg.
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Hutchinson: Enclosed is a review of the 
     Radioactive Waste Disposal Site that I completed on 18 July 
     1995. Texas needs this radioactive waste disposal site. We 
     have 2,217 users of radioisotopes in Texas. We know of 684 
     sites that produce radioactive waste that must be disposed of 
     properly in order to safeguard the health of all Texans.
       Medical diagnosis and treatment with radioisotopes is a 
     significant factor at hospitals and cancer treatment centers. 
     Radioisotopes are used at many Texas Universities and 
     teaching institutions. There has to be a site for disposal of 
     their wastes. We can not simply store this material on site 
     at 684 different places.
       We have to look to the total disposal of radioactive waste 
     in Texas and do the best possible job so that future 
     generations are not affected by sloppy disposal and 
     contamination of ground water or food chains. The Eagle Flat 
     site at Sierra Blanca meets those needs.
       We need your support in approving HR 558 which is the 
     compact between Texas, Maine, and Vermont. Congress has 
     approved 9 compacts which includes 41 states. Please vote for 
     approval of the 10th compact so that Texas can move forward 
     on proper disposal of radioactive wastes with input and 
     monies from Maine and Vermont.
       The site selected in Hudspeth County is being reviewed by 
     the Texas Department of Natural Resources. Approval by that 
     state agency will enable Texas to properly dispose of its 
     radioactive waste. The state approval process continues to 
     move forward at this time. Public hearings at the state level 
     are scheduled for Spring 96.
           Sincerely,
                                              Charles H. Williams,
     Chairman, Institutional Review Board.
                                  ____

                                    The University of Texas Health


                                Science Center at San Antonio,

                                San Antonio, TX, December 5, 1995.
     Re passage of H.R. 558/low-level radioactive waste compact.
     Hon. Lamar Smith,
     U.S. Representative, District 21,
     San Antonio, TX.
       Dear Congressman Smith: It is my understanding that the 
     House of Representative may once again vote on a low-level 
     radioactive waste (LLW) compact among Texas, Maine, and 
     Vermont. As you evaluate this issue, I thought you might be 
     interested in the importance of such compacts to The 
     University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
       As you know, UTHSCSA engages in important research, medical 
     treatment, and diagnosis using radioactive materials. These 
     activities could be curtailed, or even possibly eliminated, 
     if long-term, reliable LLW disposal is not available. Much, 
     if not all, of our research depends on radioisotopes used as 
     ``tracers.'' These isotopes allow researchers to identify 
     cells being studied without using dyes or chemicals which 
     would interfere with the experiment. Virtually all aspects of 
     contemporary biomedical research depends on the use of these 
     radioisotopes.
       Currently, at UTHSCSA, the following research is underway 
     using low-level radioactive materials: (1) Cancer research on 
     causes and treatment of different types of cancer; (2) 
     Exploration and mapping of human genomes; (3) Studies on the 
     effects of aging; (4) Diabetes in the Hispanic population; 
     (5) Bone loss, density, growth, and osteoporosis; (6) Genes 
     that suppress tumors; (7) Pathogenicity of various infectious 
     agents; and (8) Studies of neuroendocrinology and pineal 
     physiology.
       According to figures from the Texas Low-level Radioactive 
     Waste Disposal Authority, approximately 23% of the LLW sent 
     to the proposed Texas disposal facility will be generated by 
     medical research and health facilities, including the fifteen 
     academic and health institutions of The University of

[[Page S9818]]

     Texas System. The University of Texas System and the UTHSCSA 
     rely on Congress to support the State's efforts to provide 
     generators of LLW a safe, secure, and permanent LLW disposal 
     facility.
       Thank you for your further consideration of this issue, 
     which is of great concern to this University and its 
     important research and health care goals. We appreciate your 
     interests and support.
           Sincerely yours,
                                                 John P. Howe III,
                                                        President.

  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, the issue before us today is whether 
the citizens of Texas, Maine, and Vermont will enjoy the same 
protections as 41 other States to ensure safe and environmentally sound 
disposal of dangerous radioactive material.
  The local support is there. The Governor has assured us that there 
will not be a site selected until all of the scientific data shows that 
this is where it should go, and we are doing exactly what Congress 
directed us to do in creating safe places for this low-level 
radioactive waste.
  I hope my colleagues will support this, as all of the six Senators 
who have a direct interest in this are doing.
  Thank you, Mr. President. I thank the Senator from Maine. I yield the 
floor.
  Mr. WELLSTONE addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, will the Chair notify me when I have 1 
minute left?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I thank the Chair.
  Mr. President, I say to my colleagues that the site has been 
selected. The only remaining question is final licensing. The site in 
Hudspeth County, Sierra Blanca, is disproportionately Hispanic and 
disproportionately poor. That is what this debate is all about. This is 
an injustice. If you vote for this compact, you will be ratifying this 
injustice. If you vote against this compact, then this will not happen.
  That is why LULAC, that is why the League of Conservation Voters, 
that is why the Sierra Club, that is why the religious community, that 
is why 100 different organizations from around the country, that is why 
people came here, as difficult as it was, all the way from Hudspeth 
County to say please don't do this.
  We had two amendments that would have made this fair.
  Please, colleagues, listen to this. One amendment that you voted for 
said that if the people in Hudspeth County can prove that this is 
discriminatory, they should have a right to do so in court. The other 
amendment says let's make it clear that the waste can only come from 
Maine, Vermont, and Texas. Twice the Senate went on record with 
unanimous votes supporting both those amendments, and in the conference 
committee those amendments were knocked out. The utility industry 
wanted them knocked out. They don't want the people to have any kind of 
remedy for discrimination. There is no assurance that the waste will 
come just from Maine, Vermont, and Texas. They want this to be a 
national repository site.
  That is why we should vote against this compact--the first compact 
ever with a clear site for building a compact nuclear waste dump. This 
is an environmental injustice.
  I reserve the remainder of my time.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, how much time do I have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 2 minutes remaining.
  Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, let me make a final comment. I think we 
have had very extensive debate.
  I believe that the facts have been emphasized and clarified with 
respect to this issue. The fact of the matter is, this compact adheres 
to all of the standards that have been applied to previous compacts 
ratified by the Congress, nine such instances as mandated by the U.S. 
Congress. The fact is, 82 Senators in this body represent States that 
have compacts, but the Senator from Minnesota is saying that somehow 
the States of Texas and Vermont and Maine should be discriminated 
against, that they should not be allowed to enter into a compact to 
safely dispose of low-level radioactive waste--waste, yes, that is 
generated by universities, by medical centers, by defense facilities, 
by power plants.

  The Senator from Minnesota is saying that somehow we should be 
treated differently from his own State of Minnesota and all of the 
other 40 States that are included in these compacts. The State of Texas 
has procedures, has a public process, has a political process to 
determine where the site should be located. The Senator from Minnesota 
is somehow suggesting that the State of Texas does not have the trust 
and the confidence of the people that it serves to make a judgment in 
adherence to their State environmental and public and health and safety 
laws as well as the Federal Government, all of which, I might add, have 
to be adhered to, all of which have been outlined in this process 
throughout. This has not been something that somehow has materialized 
out of thin air, overriding and breaching all of the environmental and 
safety laws in America.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Ms. SNOWE. So I would urge my colleagues to adopt this conference 
report that allows the States of Texas and Vermont and Maine to do what 
41 other States, including the State of Minnesota, have been able to do 
in the past.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Colleagues, you have never voted for a compact with a 
specific site for building a compact dump, not with a site in Sierra 
Blanca, not with a site disproportionately Hispanic and poor.
  This is an environmental vote. This is a geologically active area. 
The science says no, but it is the path of least political resistance. 
This community is targeted. We will now vote. If you vote for this 
compact, you vote for an injustice. Do the right thing and vote against 
this compact.
  Twice you have gone on record, colleagues, by unanimous vote: yes, 
for the compact as long as people have a right to challenge this and 
have a chance to prove discrimination. Yes, we vote for the compact if 
we make it clear that this won't become a national repository site and 
the waste can only come from Maine and Vermont and Texas. And both of 
those amendments, in the dark of night, were stripped by the conference 
committee.
  That is why so many religious and civil rights organizations have 
said vote against this. LULAC, the League of Conservation Voters, the 
Sierra Club, the Catholic diocese, the Methodist Church, so on and so 
forth. This is a justice vote. We have to vote on this, and once and 
for all it is important for us to be on the side of justice and vote no 
on this compact.
  Mr. President, how much time do I have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 1 minute remaining.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Does my colleague have any time remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Her time has expired.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I then will yield the remainder of my time, and I ask 
for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The yeas and nays have been requested.
  Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the conference 
report. The yeas and nays have been ordered. The clerk will call the 
roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Georgia (Mr. 
Coverdell), the Senator from New Mexico (Mr. Domenici), and the Senator 
from Alaska (Mr. Murkowski) are necessarily absent.
  I also announce that the Senator from North Carolina (Mr. Helms) is 
absent because of illness.
  I further announce that, if present and voting, the Senator from 
North Carolina (Mr. Helms) would vote ``yea.''
  Mr. FORD. I announce that the Senator from New Mexico (Mr. Bingaman), 
the Senator from Ohio (Mr. Glenn), and the Senator from Hawaii (Mr. 
Inouye) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
who desire to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 78, nays 15, as follows:

[[Page S9819]]

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 255 Leg.]

                                YEAS--78

     Abraham
     Allard
     Ashcroft
     Baucus
     Bennett
     Biden
     Bond
     Breaux
     Brownback
     Bumpers
     Burns
     Byrd
     Campbell
     Chafee
     Cleland
     Coats
     Cochran
     Collins
     Conrad
     Craig
     D'Amato
     Daschle
     DeWine
     Dodd
     Dorgan
     Enzi
     Faircloth
     Feinstein
     Ford
     Frist
     Gorton
     Graham
     Gramm
     Grams
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Hatch
     Hollings
     Hutchinson
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Jeffords
     Johnson
     Kempthorne
     Kerrey
     Kohl
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Lott
     Lugar
     Mack
     McCain
     McConnell
     Mikulski
     Moynihan
     Murray
     Nickles
     Robb
     Roberts
     Rockefeller
     Roth
     Santorum
     Sarbanes
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Smith (NH)
     Smith (OR)
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Thomas
     Thompson
     Thurmond
     Warner

                                NAYS--15

     Akaka
     Boxer
     Bryan
     Durbin
     Feingold
     Harkin
     Kennedy
     Kerry
     Lautenberg
     Moseley-Braun
     Reed
     Reid
     Torricelli
     Wellstone
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--7

     Bingaman
     Coverdell
     Domenici
     Glenn
     Helms
     Inouye
     Murkowski
  The conference report was agreed to.
  Mr. McCONNELL. addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the motion 
to reconsider the last vote be laid upon the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DASCHLE addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The minority leader.

                          ____________________