Duckworth Reinforces Importance of Her Bipartisan STRANDED Act for Communities Affected by Nuclear Waste
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today highlighted the urgency of the need to pass her bipartisan legislation to address the impacts of stranded nuclear waste on communities burdened with storing it. In today’s U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing on Duckworth’s bipartisan Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development (STRANDED) Act, the Senator highlighted how communities with decommissioned nuclear power plants like Zion, Illinois, serve as de facto interim nuclear waste storage sites for decades and have long faced devastating social and economic impacts as a result. Zion City Administrator David Knabel was a witness for today’s hearing, sharing first-hand the economic hardship the city has faced and how the STRANDED Act could help address these issues in communities all across the nation.
“There is a desperate need to pass the STRANDED Act as soon as possible,” Duckworth said. “However, our bipartisan proposal is not a new or radical idea. We’re simply seeking to fulfill a promise Congress made 40 years ago … to mitigate the social and economic impacts of being stuck with nuclear waste. To this day, communities like Zion have not received [the promised] assistance. Instead, the City of Zion lost hundreds of jobs and millions in tax revenue – and was deprived of the valuable lakefront property that could be the base for future economic growth. That was never the deal.”
The STRANDED Act would provide resources through the Economic Development Administrations’ Nuclear Closure Communities initiative, to give these communities the ability to survive and plan for the future, including creating a noncompetitive economic impacts grant program, establishing a Stranded Nuclear Waste Task Force and an Innovation Solutions Prize to support alternative development solutions for these sites. This follows on efforts by Duckworth to help communities with stranded nuclear waste identify available federal resources that was included in appropriations language and signed into law in September 2018. The bipartisan STRANDED Act was introduced last year by Duckworth and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).
“Communities across the nation that continue to store spent nuclear fuel are unfairly burdened with the costs of storage,” said Collins. “The STRANDED Act would help these communities, including the Town of Wiscasset, Maine, which is home to the decommissioned Maine Yankee, by establishing a grant program to support economic development and create jobs. While the Federal Government must also move forward with a permanent solution for nuclear waste as required by law, I am pleased that the Committee has taken action to advance our legislation that would provide some relief to adversely impacted communities.”
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