PO Box 277727 Sacramento CA 95827-7727

Voice: (916) 448-2390 [or (209) 296-3680]

Fax: (815) 361-3848

April 18, 2002

Honorable Darrell Steinberg, Chair
Assembly Appropriations Committee
Room 5136
State Capitol
Sacramento CA 95814
Dear Assemblyman Steinberg:


This is to record the opposition of the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission to AB 2214 (Keeley). Under both California and federal law (PL 100-712), the State of California is obligated to develop a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility for all states party to the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact. Industries, medical facilities, utilities, academic institutions, and other users of radioactive materials in Arizona, North Dakota and South Dakota, as well as California, have a legal right to expect the State of California to meet its statutory obligations.

It has become apparent in the past few years that California, in spite of having licensed a disposal facility intended to be constructed in Ward Valley, has no intention of taking action to fulfill its legal obligations. AB 2214 would disallow construction of the Ward Valley facility and thus affirm in statute that California does not plan to do what it has agreed to do under the Compact.

Instead, AB 2214 would set criteria for what appears to be a storage facility. This opens a new concern. It is clear that, under law, the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission is empowered to protect a State of California disposal facility from access by radioactive waste producers from any but the four party states. However, it is not at all clear whether the Commission has the ability to protect the State from anyone in the nation who might want to store, rather than dispose of, waste in California.

The Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission urges a no vote on AB 2214. It would place California in an untenable position by codifying the State's refusal to complete its obligations under law and could lead to California's becoming the national repository for low-level radioactive waste.

Please contact me as shown on the letterhead if you have questions about the Commission's views. Thank you.


Don J. Womeldorf Executive Director

Cc: Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission
Honorable Patricia Bates, Vice-Chair, Assembly Appropriations Committee
Honorable Fred Keeley