Higgins Announces House Approval of Legislation Authorizing West Valley Cleanup
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the House of Representatives approved H.R. 1138, a bill introduced by Reps. Tom Reed and Brian Higgins, to provide funding for the West Valley Demonstration Project. Under the bill, $75 million is authorized annually from 2020 through 2026.
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In remarks on the House Floor, Congressman Higgins highlighted the significance of this legislation passing this week, as advocates visit Capitol Hill to advocate for Great Lakes protection:
“I rise in strong support of Congressman Tom Reed’s House Bill 1138, which authorizes funding for the clean-up of the West Valley Demonstration Project, a nuclear waste remediation site in Western New York.
“Mr. Speaker, advocates are in Washington this week to remind Congress of the importance of the Great Lakes as a source of clean water for millions of Americans.
“The long term clean up at West Valley, which sits 30 miles from Lake Erie and at the foot of a tributary stream, will prevent harmful contamination to the region.
“The Department of Energy has an obligation to ensure the 600,000 gallons of high-level radioactive waste are solidified and disposed of safely and expeditiously. The funding in this bill will allow it to do just that. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and I yield back.”
The Western New York Service Center site in West Valley, New York processed used nuclear fuel between 1966 and 1972. Under the West Valley Demonstration Project Act of 1980, the federal government assumed responsibility for solidifying the high-level waste, disposing of waste, and decommissioning the facility. Through an agreement with New York, the U.S. Department of Energy covers 90 percent of the cleanup cost.
Funding for the West Valley Demonstration Project is currently authorized through September 30, 2019. This bill continues funding for remediation through 2026. The Legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.