Landgraf’s Bill Protects Basin from High-Level Radioactive Waste

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed House Bill 2692 to prohibit the storage and disposal of high-level radioactive waste in Texas.

“Texas will not be a dumping ground for the rest of the country,” Landgraf said. “Passing HB 2692 will ensure that high-level radioactive waste is kept out of the oil patch and out of West Texas.”

Since 1998, federal law has required Texas to operate a facility for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste generated in the state. The low-level radioactive waste disposal facility is located in Andrews County, situated on a natural 600-foot formation of impermeable red bed clay. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is currently considering an application to allow for the storage of high-level radioactive waste at the facility.

“My constituents are on board with low-level storage, as used rubber gloves and hospital gowns provide little reason for concern. But high-level radioactive waste, like spent nuclear fuel, is a horse of an entirely different color. I filed HB 2692 for those who live and work in Andrews and the Permian Basin, and for all Texans, so that highly radioactive is not brought to or disposed of in our West Texas communities,” Landgraf concluded.

In addition to banning the storage of high-level radioactive waste at the disposal facility near Andrews, House Bill 2692 makes necessary changes to the law to ensure the facility provides an economic benefit to Andrews County and the State of Texas into the future as it continues to store low-level materials in a safe and efficient manner. The facility is the disposal site for many of the economic engines of the Texas economy, including our hospital safety net, our world-renowned oil and gas industry, and our electric generators.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.