Commissioners agree on nuclear resolution
Aspen Times Staff Writer
County Commissioner Dorothea Farris has dropped her effort to have Pitkin County declared a nuclear-free zone.
Instead, she just wants the county to oppose the “unsafe and unregulated transportation of nuclear waste and/or radioactive or nuclear materials within Pitkin County, the Roaring Fork Valley and the state of Colorado.”
“This isn’t about nuclear power. It isn’t about transportation or the trucking industry or accidents,” Farris said. “This resolution is about – if and when all the nuclear waste in the East is shipped to Yucca Mountain [in Nevada] – the fact that there are certain regulations and safety standards that need to be met.”
Farris attempted unsuccessfully last week to have the county adopt a more broadly written resolution that would have declared the county a nuclear-free zone. She was motivated to take a stand after the recent decision by Congress to create a national repository for nuclear waste in Nevada. She said she was particularly motivated by the lack of a transportation strategy for moving spent materials from nuclear plants scattered around the country to Nevada.
She ran into opposition from Commissioner Shellie Roy, who pointed out that France receives 90 percent of its power from nuclear reactors without the environmental problems long associated with the industry. Roy said nuclear power, done correctly, represents an environmentally friendly way to produce energy.
Farris agreed to rewrite the resolution and yesterday offered an alternative that focuses on the need to keep an eye on the movement of nuclear waste through Colorado.
The new resolution directs the county staff to prepare for an accident involving trucks carrying nuclear materials “by adopting Preparedness, Response and Mitigation plans to ensure, to the best of our ability, the safety of our citizens.”
Roy complimented Farris for the changes, and she dropped her opposition. Commissioners Patti Clapper and Jack Hatfield joined in support of the resolution and promised to formally pass it at the next regular meeting on June 12.
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The future of the Aspen-Pitkin County airport took a significant step forward Thursday. Pitkin County commissioners decided 4-1 to accept the recommendation of a community-based committee and leave the runway where it is, a bedrock decision in the long process toward a new terminal and airfield.