ui mpl eg p aid TENRAC … from page 9 cility unless customer disposal fees are prohibitively high. \(This problem will be exacerbated if the South Texas Nuclear Project, already millions over budget, TENRAC’s staff admit that a low-level nuclear waste facility cannot be selfsupporting at all and predict that Texas taxpayers will end up footing the bill, as has happened in other states. To overcome the financial improbabilities of a Texas-only site, there is the alternative of creating a national dumping ground and using the large volume of business to pay the bills. It might be just as useful to think of the project on a national scale legal precedents indicate that out-of-state waste cannot be refused by host states, at least if the site is privately owned. One reason TENRAC proposes a state-run facility as opposed Workers leaving Comanche Peak nuclear to a private one is to sidestep this legal precedent. The argument is that a stateowned dump would exclude the facility from interstate commerce requirements and so exempt it from litigation by other states and the federal government. But the legal ice is thin; federal pressure is going to be large; and other states will work hard to worm their way in. The TENRAC staff acknowledges that avoidance of out-of-state waste is at best a “probable” outcome. An adverse decision is very possible. But in some ways the low-level waste issue is a “red herring.” The costs and the risks are only a small fraction of the costs of high-level waste handling and even nuclear plants themselves. If TENRAC does successfully locate a low-level disposal facility in Texas, then many Texans will be lulled into acceptance of nuclear waste disposal, and siting of a high-level waste dump could be next on the agenda. In this regard, Clements recently des ignated TENRAC as the lead agency to coordinate consultation with the federal government on the possible siting of a in Texas. In addition, TENRAC is coordinating state-sponsored studies on salt-domes as possible HLW disposal sites, and is working with federal grants to investigate the political process of siting a high level dump. The Washington Connection TENRAC may quarrel over things like the Solar Energy Advisory Committee but there’s one thing which never is disputed, one thing which unites the TENRAC membership as a single voice the evil of federal government. It’s no secret. that Texas’ political establishment is quite happy with the job which the energy industry in Texas has done. And TENRAC has done its best to preserve the industry’s present form: bying effort. Probably the first action to be taken will be on pending congressional delegation of the Federal Surface Mining Control Act to the states. The Railroad Commission wants very badly to retain responsibility for regulation of stripmining in Texas, particularly since Texas lignite is booming. As Mack Wallace puts it, “It’s far better for a state agency to administer this thing than it is to give it to a collection of federal inspectors who probably need a road map to find Texas in the first place.” Wallace’s attitude is not surprising in view of the quarrels which the Railroad Commission has had with federal officials over the commission’s laissez-faire approach to stripmining controls. Three other acts are coming up for reauthorization in Congress: the Clean Air Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. All will be subject to TENRAC lobbying. The Clean Air Act in particular has been under fire from many TENRAC members, such as “citizen member” Michael Halbouty, a long-time friend of Gov. Clements and one of the three or four most vocal independent oilmen in Texas history. Halbouty was largely responsible for much of the original oil exploration in Alaska. His shrewd dealing and persistent hardball techniques have rewarded him with chairmanship of one San Angelo bank and controlling or heavy interest in more than a dozen other banks in Texas and California. In addition, Halbouty was one of Ronald Reagan’s chief energy advisors and headed up his energy transition team. At TENRAC’s June 11 meeting, Halbouty called for repeal of the Clean Air Act because, “Mt. St. Helens threw out more pollution into the air than man has ever put since the beginning of time . . . .” \(Douglas Costle, chief administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, recently pointed out that daily emissions of man-made sulfur dioxide vastly exceed those of Mt. St. Halbouty’s and Clements’ closeness to Reagan and their hard work for him during the campaign have earned them several favors in Washington. The U.S. Senate is more conservative and more closely reflects TENRAC’s sentiment than ever before. Clements has consolidated the energy policies of Texas agencies in TENRAC. So the probability of major change in federal legislation is hard to avoid. How long TENRAC will be in such a favorable situation is dependent on many factors. But it might not take long for it to undo years of federal environmental legislation. plant at Glen Rose centralized and unregulated. It’s also no secret that the same political establishment despises most federal energy policies: that’s spelled “meddling” and anti-“free enterprise.” The windfall profits tax, regulation of the nuclear industry, the federal Clean Air Act all take their share of abuse from governing Texans. And now, very much in step with the conservative politics ushered in by Ronald Reagan’s victory, TENRAC is spearheading a move to put all of Texas’ political lobbying might into emasculation of those programs in the U.S. Congress. In the past, individual agencies represented Texas’ position on particular issues when Washington was considering legislation relating to the role of that agency in the state. In the future, TENRAC will coordinate offensives in Washington on these issues. In fact, TENRAC is anticipating spending several hundred thousand dollars next year for staff which will work exclusively on this lob 18 JANUARY 30, 1981
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