40 years of No

40 years of No

Forty years ago, the Department of Energy made a colossally ill-conceived effort to declare Deaf Smith County a repository for the national mandated nuclear waste dump.  The good folks of Deaf Smith didn’t think it was a particularly bright idea to put toxic radioactive waste in the ground below the Ogallala Aquifer.  They also didn’t think it was safe to drill through the Ogallala to get to the dump site. They also objected strongly to the idea that it had ever been a good idea to risk contaminating the most productive agricultural county in Texas.  

The Texas Department of Agriculture, whose commissioner was Jim Hightower,  helped those good Texas citizens fight it.   The TDA  also publicized that battle.  

PHIT, through the magnificent assistance of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, has uncovered a series of TV programs of those contentious Deaf Smith public hearings.  The TSLAC has recently digitized those programs and has made them available.  You can view one meeting here.

Nuclear plants generate generate cheap electricity and a fair amount of radioactive waste material.  They have to hide the stuff somewhere.  And the government, in a subsidy to the nuclear industry,  said it would provide a site.  The problem is no one, and no one means no one, wants the stinking dangerous stuff next to them.  In the 1980s, Yucca Mountain in Nevada was selected but, after years of protests and legal challenges, eventually was able to tell the Department of Energy a big NO THANKS.  

The Department of Energy is now cycling back to Texas to see if we have changed our mind.  Andrews County in West Texas is being targeted.  A company was able to sneak in a low level waste dump and is now applying for a higher level of radioactivity.  

Andrews County is now saying NO.  Greg Abbott says NO.  

Texas has been saying No for Forty Years.  PHIT is documenting this history of NO.

PHIT sent a crew out to Andrews to interview the participants and have helped publicize the NO DUMPS effort with informational material.

Stay tuned for podcasts and videos based on our oral interview technique of letting people tell their own story.