An open letter to DOE (part 1)

carlson
Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

An “Open Letter” to Jeffrey Sayer
Chair
Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission

Dear Mr. Sayer:

Former Governors Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus have once again rendered their fellow citizens a tremendous service – indeed, service above and beyond the call of duty.

Both governors saw through the smoke screen of wishful thinking by blind Idaho National Laboratory partisans who with dollar signs dancing in their eyes thought they could hornswoggle the two governors into accepting amendments to Governor Batt’s 1995 agreement with the Lab, Do E and The United States Navy severely limiting the importation of any more (other than a small amount for research purposes) nuclear waste and mandating it all be gone from the Site by 2035.

Idahoans ought to thank the members of Governor Butch Otter’s LINE commission for being, choose your word: dumb or naïve, enough to think that dangling a carrot of vague, unspecified additional economic development might possibly entice Idaho ’s current leadership to amend the 1995 agreement.

There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Butch will buck two governors who he served as Lt. Governor and cross their emphatic response to even the hint of amending the agreement with their firm not just NO!, but Hell No!

Batt and Andrus understand that Idaho has the only agreement of any state NOT to be turned into an interim waste or possibly permanent waste repository. The 1995 agreement gives Idaho the only real leverage it has and it is reinforced by having been held up as binding in a Federal Court of law.

To deal away a “hole card” would be the height of folly when dealing with a Federal government that did not begin to keep many of its promises until the 1995 agreement was in place.

One cannot be any clearer than Governor Andrus was in his letter to the LINE Commission chair, Commerce director Jeff Sayer. He told Sayer he had carefully read all 50 plus pages including the recommendations and “nothing in the (Line Commission) report warrants any amendment for any reason to the Batt Agreement of 1995.. . .”

To have Governor Batt follow suit immediately with his own strongly worded letter to the Idaho Statesman ensured that folks would still see the two governors from different political parties were absolutely tied together at the hip on this matter.

It was meant to signal to anyone who might try to make this into a partisan matter that that too was a non-starter. The governors had obviously been talking and had coordinated their responses. One could almost hear the gnashing of teeth in far away north Idaho emanating from the INL booster types in Idaho Falls.

One cannot help wondering what they were thinking by issuing a progress report with such a non-starter in it and thereby giving Batt and Andrus the opportunity to kick it completely off the table. But that’s what the Commission did and the result was pretty predictable.

One wishes that this was a deliberate strategy by Governor Otter and Director Sayer to use this as a “teaching moment” to curb the INL boosters who think in an era of shrinking federal budgets they can buck the trend and generate many more federal dollars for the INL. Somehow, that seems just a bit too sophisticated for them.

With all due respect, Sayer ought now to make it abundantly clear to any others that wish to comment not to waste their time trying to make a case for any quid quo pro that would involve first having to amend the Batt agreement. It’s a non-starter so don’t waste anyone’s time.

(To be continued)

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