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Higgins & Massa Announce Extension of West Valley Site Public Comment Period

Jun 8, 2009
Press Release

Congressmen Brian Higgins (NY-27) and Eric Massa (NY-29) announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has granted their request for an extension of the public comment period on the clean-up of the West Valley site which was set to expire today.

“Full clean up of the West Valley site is important to Western New York and the health of our Great Lakes,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force.  “This extension allows more time for residents and organizations to have their voices heard on this important matter.”

"The complete cleanup of West Valley is critical to our region and we need to make sure we get it right," said Congressman Eric Massa. "This is an important issue and I'm glad we were able to extend the time frame for the families of Western New York to have their voices heard."

Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) commends Congressmen Higgins and Massa for standing up for the Great Lakes and our communities and successfully fighting to extend the public comment period," said Brian Smith, CCE WNY Program Director.  "The Great Lakes are essential to our region's quality of life, and more time will allow an ever growing grassroots movement to weigh in with the only responsible option for the health of our lakes - a full clean up of West Valley."

In response to a letter sent to the DOE on June 5, initiated by Congressmen Higgins and Massa and signed by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand as well as Representatives Hinchey, Serrano, Israel, Lowey, Lee, Maffei, Hall, Nadler, Rangel, Maloney, Engel, Crowley, Bishop and Tonko the DOE agreed to extend the public comment period for 90 days for the revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement for decommissioning and/or long-term stewardship at the West Valley Demonstration Project.

In 1980, Congress passed the West Valley Demonstration Project Act directing the DOE to enter into an agreement with New York State for clean-up of the Western New York Nuclear Service Center established in the 1960s in response to a federal call for efforts to commercialize the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from power reactors. New York State is responsible for 10 percent of the Project costs and the federal government pays 90 percent.  The federal Recovery Act included an additional $74 million for West Valley clean up, doubling the annual allocation.

Congressmembers Higgins and Massa also applauded the Obama Administration’s appointment of a Great Lakes Czar to oversee issues related to the Lakes.  The federal FY 2010 budget includes $475 million for Great Lakes clean-up. 

Comments on West Valley clean-up can be submitted via the DOE website at www.westvalleyeis.com