During Thursday’s hearing focused on energy policy, a heated exchange occurred between Democrat Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico and GOP Congressman Pat Fallon of Texas.
The dispute arose when Rep. Stansbury opposed a proposed spent nuclear fuel rod storage facility in New Mexico. The hearing, conducted by the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs, saw Stansbury continuing her speech beyond her allotted time, leading to a sharp exchange with Rep. Fallon.
Holtec International, the company behind the multi-billion-dollar economy-boosting facility, has publicly stated that the project will represent a high standard of safety in both structure and environmental impact. However, anti-nuke radicals, including Stansbury, argue that the federal government’s push for the facility contradicts the Biden administration’s pledge to include local communities in decisions regarding the siting of nuclear waste storage sites.
In a tense moment during the hearing, as Stansbury’s time ran out, she highlighted the opposition of local communities to the nuclear waste facility, referencing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) May 2023 decision to grant a permit for the temporary storage of nuclear waste in Lea County, New Mexico. Fallon, attempting to intervene and remind her of the expired time, was met with Stansbury’s insistence on finishing her point.
Fallon’s repeated assertions that Stansbury’s time had ended and that she was out of order were countered by her claim that the NRC’s decision itself was out of order. The exchange culminated with Fallon stating, “You didn’t remove one bit of nuclear waste by being out of order here.”
The proposed facility, if completed, is intended to store spent nuclear fuel from across the U.S. for 40 years, as per the NRC’s permit. While this plan could benefit the American nuclear power sector, it faces opposition from fringe eco-leftists. This development occurs despite the federal government’s commitment to involving local communities in such decisions.
The issue of nuclear waste management remains a significant financial burden for taxpayers, with billions spent due to the absence of a long-term storage strategy. Currently, spent nuclear fuel is temporarily housed in over 70 locations nationwide, awaiting a permanent solution.