County commissioners weigh nuclear waste storage project
Posted April 16
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — County commissioners in southern New Mexico are in debate over a federal project that aims to determine whether nuclear waste can be stored far underground.
The Otero County Commission discussed a proposed resolution in opposition of the project Thursday, but the panel decided to hold off on taking any action, The Alamogordo Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/2oaS2oL).
Commissioners say they have received comments from residents both for and against the project, which involves the drilling of narrow, vertical holes deep into the ground to test whether they can hold disposed nuclear material.
The U.S. Department of Energy is paying for the testing by New Mexico-based TerranearPMC and has said no nuclear waste will be involved.
Fred Stong, director of FIRST Robotics New Mexico, voiced his support for the project during Thursday's meeting, saying he would like to see it continue because there are many residents who support science and technology.
"There is no waste in this program. This is a wonderful geographical opportunity," Stong said. "Our job is to bring technology in, not drive away technology from this community."
But resident Bobby Jones said the federal government's plan was too risky and he doesn't "support the project because of what might happen afterwards."
TerranearPMC CEO Kenneth Fillman said he shares residents' concerns and an environmental assessment will be conducted before the company moves forward with the project.
The Otero County Commission meeting came the same day Harding County passed a resolution opposing a similar borehole project in neighboring Quay County.