fundamental science in the nation's interest.
Thus an important and fundamental field of science is dependent upon
fusion program funding. It is critical to the health of the field of plasma
science that its funding, having just declined by perhaps more than any other
basic science, must now be stabilized.
The second point is that the US fusion community is ready to embark upon
an entirely new path. The commuruty recognizes that we cannot afford to
construct large facilities requiring increasing budgets: we must turn to a
fusion program that remains at a level reduced from that of any time of the
past twenty years. Most : iportantly we have learned that the wisest path is
one that emphasizes the basic science underlying fusion. The increased
scientific focus is both exciting and necessary for long term progress in fusion.
These realizations are the basis for a fusion program that is genuinely
different and, though small compared to the fusion efforts of Europe and
Asia, continues to hold vital scientific excitement and technological promise.
However, it must be appreciated that in one year the fusion science
community received a traumatic 33% cut, causing the loss of many of our best
young scientists, and the shutdown of valuable facilities. Such a draconian
and disproportionate cut was wholly unjustified scientifically. We could not
absorb another cut without devastating our endeavor. I urge you to now hold
the line and commit steadfastly to stable support of this extraordinary
In the past year there have been two independent, high-level, outside reviews
of the fusion program: the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and
Technology (PCAST) and the Department of Energy's Fusion Energy
Advisory Committee (FEAC). Both committees lauded the program's
remarkable scientific progress, as well as the enormous potential of fusion.
Both noted the high importance to the nation of plasma science and
recommended a strong basic scientific focus for the program. Recognizing the
fiscal reality, both committees described a dynamic program that made sense
at funding levels less than that of FY 95. In particular, in the past month
FEAC recommended a funding level of $275M. This is $90M less than that of
FY 95. I strongly urge you to adopt this recommended funding level. It is
time to save the fusion science, a field of major importance to the scientific
health of the nation, and to our long term energy security.
S.C. Prager R.D. Hazeltine N. Fisch
Chair Chair-Elect Vice-Chai
* The view expressed here are on behalf of the Division of Plasma Physics of
the American Physical Society, not necessarily of the American Physical
Society as a whole.
Thursday, February 29, 1996.
NUCLEAR WASTE FUND
HON. KEVIN J. PHILLIPS, MAYOR, CITY OF CALIENTE, NEVADA
Mr. Myers. The Honorable Kevin Phillips, mayor of the City of
Is it Caliente?
Mr. Phillips. It is Caliente, whether you speak Spanish or Eng-
lish, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Myers. Very good.
Your prepared statement will be in the record and you are recog-
nized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Phillips. My name is Kevin Phillips, and I am the mayor
of the City of Caliente, Nevada.
I would like to thank you for inviting me to share the perspective
of Caliente and Lincoln County concerning funding of local govern-
ment oversight activities relating to the Department of Energy's
Yucca Mountain site characterization activities and the potential
for interim storage in Nevada.
In my part I would like to address three questions which sort of
are a synopsis of my written remarks. First of all, why provide
oversight funding and the benefits? Why was the funding sus-
pended for fiscal year 1996, and what are the results? And why
should local oversight funding be immediately restored for fiscal
year 1996 and then provided for in fiscal year 1997 and beyond?
The legacy of the Atomic Energy Commission and prior DOE
handling of radioactive hazards has caused people to wonder about
the safety of waste management under Federal control, hence the
need for local oversight. The drafters of the 1987 amendments to
the Nuclear Waste Policy Act recognized the important role that
local oversight must play in guiding the Nation's radioactive waste
The capability of local governments to conduct credible repository
oversight programs is crucial to the ability of Nevadans to reach
informed conclusions about nuclear waste management. I, for ex-
ample, as a newly elected public servant, became educated about
nuclear energy and the management of spent fuel because of over-
So why fund local oversight? First, to educate and inform the
people; second, to establish trust and confidence in the program;
and, third, to find the best workable solutions to the problems.
These are all desirable outcomes.
Now, question two: Why was funding suspended for fiscal year
1996, and what are the results? Perhaps this occurred because of
the strictly oppositional approach assumed by the State of Nevada,
which has undoubtedly diminished the credibility of State oversight
activities. Perhaps it is due to the reported misuse of these funds
by the state. Perhaps this came just because of the budget mess
here in Washington.
Whatever the cause, the results are the same: By cutting off
funding to the affected counties, you have stopped the only credible
scientific oversight studies going on. We have been forced to dis-
band our teams of experts who have worked so dihgently to con-
structively protect the interests of our citizens. Our ability to fur-
ther develop our objective proposal and prepare for its impact has
been substantially limited.
Question three: Why should you restore local government over-
sight funding? Frankly, because we are part of the solution, not the
problem. The broad nature of oversight activities carried out by
Lincoln County and the City of Caliente are characteristic of those
conducted by the majority of affected units of local government.
We take our oversight responsibilities seriously. Our programs
have been the foundation of reasoned thinking about the potential
impacts of the repository and related methods for minimizing risks
and maximizing system benefits. Our oversight activities have
sought to reflect a constructive and balanced approach to develop
trust and confidence with Nevada's residents.
Despite enormous political pressure by a few State officials, citi-
zens of Lincoln County have demonstrated their resourcefulness
and strong desire to constructively address the difficult issues asso-
ciated with the handling of nuclear waste and to protect the eco-
nomic and public health interests of all Nevadans. Our approach
has stood in stark contrast to the unproductive and often dema-
gogic approach taken by the State of Nevada, and for this we have
been punished by the State in ways you could not imagine.
Why? For offering an option to allow the transport of nuclear
waste through our community in an effort to mitigate any poten-
tially adverse impact to the heavily populated areas of Nevada.
Our position on this issue has caused us to endure the pain of re-
call elections orchestrated by State bureaucrats, and, when they
failed, they filed costly and personally draining and damaging law-
suits to remove myself and my colleagues from office and then to
enjoin me from exercising my constitutional right of free speech.
All of these failed. All this came because we sought a dialogue with
I respectfully request that you do two things: First, restore over-
sight funding for the balance of fiscal year 1996; and, second, pro-
vide oversight funding for 1997 and beyond. I have offered specific
language in my written testimony that I hope you will consider.
Let me conclude by saying that by focusing on Nevada as the so-
lution to this Nation's radioactive waste program, Congress is im-
posing a significant burden upon local governments who are re-
sponsible for the protection of their citizens. We want to work with
you and along with you, not against you nor really for you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Myers. Thank you for your very fine testimony. We are very
much aware of the very real problem that you have, and we will
be pleased to work with you.
[The statement of Mr. Phillips follows:]
TESTIMONY OF KEVIN J. PHILLIPS, MAYOR
CITY OF CALIENTE, NEVADA
BEFORE THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE
ON ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT
February 29, 1996
Mr. Chairman, my name is Kevin J. Phillips. I am Mayor of the City of Caliente,
Nevada. I would like to thank you for inviting me to share the perspective of Caliente and
Lincoln County concerning funding of local government oversight activities relating to the
Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Site Characterization activities and the potential
for interim storage in Nevada.
Lincoln County is one often units of local government which have been designated
as "affected" pursuant to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as amended. What was identified
in the 1986 Yucca Mountain environmental assessment remains true today: Lincoln
County will almost certainly serve as the gateway for the vast majority of shipments of
high-level radioactive waste entering Nevada which are destined for storage and disposal at
the Nevada Test Site.
Despite enormous political pressure by a few state officials, the citizens of Lincoln
County have demonstrated their resourcefulness and strong desire to constructively
address the difficult issues associated with the handling of nuclear waste and to protect the
economic and public health interests of all Nevadans. Our approach, and in fact, the
approach of most other affected local governments has stood in stark contrast to the
unproductive, and often demagogic approach taken by the State of Nevada. We have been
punished by the State of Nevada in ways you could not imagine.
Why? For offering an option to allow the transport of nuclear waste through our
community in an effort to mitigate any potentially adverse impact to the heavily populated
areas of Nevada.
Our position on this issue has caused us to endure the pain of such things as recall
elections orchestrated by state bureaucrats. When that failed they filed costly and
personally draining and damaging law suits to remove myself and my colleagues from
That failed as well.
The state has played every imaginable bureaucratic game to punish us for our
We are big boys and girls in Lincoln County â€” we stood strong, we anticipated their
actions, we outmaneuvered the bureaucrats at every turn â€” and we won. But then
Congress pulled the rug out from under our feet by eliminating vital oversight funding.
We believed we offered a solution to some of the most troubling problems associated
with this program, and while we understand Congress' desire to restructure the nuclear
waste program and hold costs down during the restructuring, we remain at a loss to
understand why you suspended funding for local government oversight which, by all
accounts, is the most constructive oversight element in the nuclear waste program. In
doing so you have substantially limited our ability to further develop our proposal and
prepare for its impacts. We have been forced to disband our team of experts who have
worked so diligently to constructively protect the interests of our citizens.
For the past ten years, Lincoln County and the City of Caliente have conducted a
joint repository oversight and impact alleviation planning program. During this period,
the Joint City/County Impact Alleviation Committee has diligently sought to provide
guidance to local repository programs. The committee, representing both geographic and
disciplinary diversity, has met no less than 60 times and has invested over 1,000 hours of
largely volunteer time to understand the implications of the nation's nuclear waste
management program to Lincoln County. Utilizing funding provided by the DOE, the
committee has overseen the preparation of over 45 reports documenting repository system
implications for Lincoln County. Topics addressed within these studies include emergency
response, transportation routing, economic/demographic impact assessment, community
development, transportation risk assessment, risk communication, tourism impact
assessment, fiscal impact assessment, and risk perception, among others. The numerous
studies sponsored by the county and city have utilized teams of highly trained and
competent researchers representing both academic and private entities. The results of
these studies have been widely communicated to residents throughout Lincoln County and
in other areas of Nevada. Lincoln County and the City of Caliente utilized this extensive
information base in preparing comprehensive written comments to the scope of the
The broad nature of oversight activities carried out by Lincoln County and the City
of Caliente are characteristic of those conducted by the majority of affected units of local
government. We take our oversight responsibility seriously. Our programs have been the
foujndation for reasoned thinking about the potential impacts of the repository system and
related methods for minimizing project risks and maximizing system benefits. Our
oversight activities have sought to reflect a constructive and balanced approach and to
develop trust and confidence with Nevada's residents.
The capability of local governments to conduct credible repository oversight
programs is crucial to the ability of Nevadans to reach informed conclusions about nuclear
waste management. The legacy of the Atomic Energy Commission and early Department
of Energy handling of radioactive hazards has caused people to wonder about the safety of
waste management under federal control. Hence, the need for local oversight. The drafters
of the 1987 Amendments to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act recognized the important role
that local oversight must play in guiding this nation's radioactive waste management
program. However, effective local oversight of this program cannot occur without federal
Perhaps Congress' decision to "suspend" funding oversight programs is due to the
reported misuse of these funds by the State of Nevada. The abuses by the State have been
documented by the GAO and the States' own auditors. I'm here to tell you that the abuse
likely runs much deeper than the auditors have discovered.
Unfortunately, it is Lincoln County and the other affected local governments that
are being punished. The State of Nevada program can continue to operate through 1998
using so-called "fenced" funds from the FY 1991 appropriation which were recently
released by the DOE because the State had "demonstrated cooperation."
We, in the affected counties, feel like children in a classroom being punished due to
the actions of one misbehaving child whom we have no control over. However, this
situation is even worse because the bad boy is getting away with it and the rest of the class
has been punished.
With all due respect, please don't punish us because of the abuse of funds by the
State of Nevada.
Since October of 1995, DOE has accelerated tunnel boring activities and
construction of the exploratory studies facility, as a result, the repository has proceeded at
a record pace during the current fiscal year. As of February 16, the tunnel boring machine
was 4,954 feet or 132 days ahead of schedule. Since October of 1995, DOE has completed
work on the second phase of a major study of alternative rail and highway routes through
Nevada to the Nevada Test Site. Transportation planning activities are continuing in
earnest. On March 1, contractors will deliver the Mined Geologic Disposal System
Advanced Conceptional Design to DOE. Also, during March, DOE plans to issue a Federal
Register notice of proposed policy and procedures for implementation of the section of the
Nuclear Waste Policy Act dealing with training of local emergency response personnel. All
of these activities are proceeding during FY 96 at the same time that funding for local
government oversight has been suspended. I would respectfully ask the Subcommittee to
rescind its decision to restrict the provision of oversight funding to local units of
government during FY 96.
Given that the Department of Energy has adjusted to its reduced levels of funding
by becoming more efTicient in conducting site characterization activities, and given that the
department is committed to reaching a conclusion regarding the suitability of Yucca
Mountain by 1998, there remains an obvious need for local government oversight. Despite
the reduced funding which has been and may be provided to DOE, site characterization
and waste management planning activities in Nevada are proceeding forward aggressively.
It is, we believe, at the very least, imperative that oversight funding be provided within the
FY 97 budget. I respectfully urge that you consider the following language for inclusion in
the 1997 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.
"Provided, that of the amount herein appropriated, not more than $7,000,000 may
be provided to affected units of local government, as defined in the Nuclear Waste
Policy Amendments Act, to conduct appropriate activities pursuant to the Act
Provided further, that the distribution of the funds herein provided among the
affected units of local government shall be determined by the units of local
government and shall be by direct payment Provided further, that within ninety
days of the completion of each Federal fiscal year, each local entity shall provide
certification to the Department of Energy, that all funds expended from such
payments have been expended for activities as defined in Public Law 97-425, as
amended Failure to provide such certification shall cause such entity to be
prohibited from any further funding provided for similar activities. Provided
further, that none of the funds herein appropriated may be used directly or
indirectly to propose or influence the outcome of pending federal legislation.
Provided further, that none of the funds herein appropriated may be used for
litigation whose result would be to limit or restrict implementation of federal
authorizing legislation regarding management and disposal of nuclear waste.
Provided further, that none of the funds provided herein shall be used to support
multi state efforts or coalition building activities inconsistent with the restriction
contained within this Act "
The proposal that we have made and that we hope you will consider, could well lead
this program into the path of progress. Lincoln County has ofTered an option which will
avoid the adverse political, economic and safety consequences associated with shipping
high level nuclear waste through heavily populated and rapidly growing jurisdictions in
Nevada. Perhaps more important, we have, through our aggressive actions, helped to
destroy the "smoke and mirrors" myth fabricated by a few State ofllcials which holds that
the vast majority of Nevadans are stalwart opponents of this project. You may hear some
Nevada ofllcials try to characterize us as just one small rural county ~ just a bunch of
country bumpkins. Yes we are rural Nevadans, but our views represent the sentiments of
many, many Nevada citizens and leaders who have been intimidated for far too long ~ who
have been prevented from expressing their true views and beliefs.
In simple terms, Lincoln County has offered a solution that would do nothing less
than mitigate all adverse impact to the rest of the State of Nevada.
We want to help solve this problem.
In conclusion, let me observe that by focusing upon Nevada as the solution to this
nation's radioactive waste management problem. Congress is imposing a significant burden
upon local governments who are responsible for the protection and enhancement of the
health, safety, and welfare of their residents. We are, and have been, responsible and
constructive participants. We want to help solve this problem and we want to protect the
interests of all Nevadans while doing so.
Again, thank you Mr. Chairman for inviting me to appear before you and this
Thursday, February 29, 1996.
NEW MEXICO PROJECTS
HON. BILL RICHARDSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
Mr. Myers. Our colleague from New Mexico, the Honorable Bill
Bill, your prepared statement will be placed in the record, and
you may proceed for the next 5 minutes as you would like.
Mr. Richardson. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Once again, my
thanks to this subcommittee for the enormous generosity that you
bestow on the State of New Mexico, particularly our energy pro-
Mr. Chairman, I have two requests, one for my usual irrigation
ditches in New Mexico, which Mr. Bevill is more of an expert than
any; and, secondly, Mr. Chairman, the Los Alamos National Lab-
oratory, as you know, is in my State.
I ask for continued support for the stockpile stewardship and
management program that is being initiated at the labs; the trit-
ium supply program which includes also research on accelerator
production of tritium; the supercomputing initiative program,
which you in the past have helped fund and spur; funding for ver-
ification and control technology for nonproliferation research and
intelligence programs; the memorandum of understanding between
the Department of Energy and other agencies to help deal with the
nuclear biological and chemical threat; funding for the Office of
Health and Environmental Research at DOE, which supports the
Human Genome Project and stractural biology research; environ-
mental technology programs; environmental management account
for stewardship of pollution prevention; the environmental restora-
tion account to ensure zero waste operations to avoid future waste
liabilities at the lab.
Mr. Chairman, you have been a very strong supporter, and this
subcommittee on a bipartisan basis, to all of our national labora-
tories. I am here on behalf of Los Alamos and Sandia. I know Mr.
Schiff will probably explain that further.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your attention.
Mr. Myers. Well, thank you. Bill. We will work very closely
again, as we always have worked with you, and we appreciate your
contribution. Thank you.
[The statement of Mr. Richardson follows:]
CONGRESSMAN BILL RICHARDSON
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
FEBRUARY 29, 1996
Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee for the
opportunity to testify today on several projects of the utmost importance to my
Congressional district in New Mexico.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Acequias Program
Under the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers was directed to take measures to protect, repair, and restore the historic
acequia irrigation systems in New Mexico. As you know from my testimony in
previous years, Mr. Chairman, acequias are a system of irrigation ditches, canals,
and small diversion dams dating back to the 18th Century. They are the single most
important source of irrigation for small, rural communities in New Mexico which
depend heavily on acequias for their economic livelihood.
As you will undoubtedly recall, I have come befo'-e this Subcommittee for
many years to request continued funding of this vitally important water program.
Unfortunately, although many acequias have applied for assistance from the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, a backlog continues to exist. Despite repeated
appropriations, this pattern has continued for a number of years, and additional
acequias are now in dire need for repairs and reconstruction.
I respectfully request $3 million for the acequias program for FY 1997, in
order to meet the continued needs of local communities in New Mexico. As in
the past, I request that report language be included to direct the Corps to
accelerate the number of acequia projects that it undertakes.
In addition, I request that language be included in the bill to allow
additional agencies, such as the Bureau of Reclamation to undertake acequia
related work through a cooperative arrangement. I would also like to see
language that increases flexibility by allowing acequia district members to
peiform some of their own repairs.
Los Alamos National Laboratory
I respectfully ask the Subcommittee to consider the following requests: