7/14/2011- By a vote of 261-162, today the House of Representatives approved an amendment introduced by Congressmen Tom Reed (NY-29) and Brian Higgins (NY-27) that restores funding for clean-up efforts at the West Valley site, a move that actually saves $120 million which would have resulted from clean-up delays.
“The successful adoption of our amendment is a win for taxpayers and a win for Western New York,” Reed said. “Tax dollars are saved and public safety is enhanced by the clean-up of the West Valley Demonstration Project. I thank our many colleagues on both sides of the aisle who recognized the importance and value of our effort.”
“Thanks to the support of our colleagues in the House, approval of this common sense measure means West Valley Clean-up continues on a responsible schedule protecting the local environment and the taxpayers who would have borne the cost of excessive delays,” said Higgins. “I am pleased to join my colleague Congressman Reed on this issue - together, standing up for Western New York, we have delivered a great victory for this community.”
The Amendment to H.R. 2354, the FY 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill offered by the Western New York members transfers $41 million in funds from administrative accounts to the non-defense environmental cleanup fund, which supports West Valley remediation.
The bipartisan effort was announced by Reed and Higgins earlier this week.
The West Valley site was established in the 1960s in response to a federal call for efforts to commercialize the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from power reactors. While the site was in operation, approximately 640 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel was reprocessed. Reprocessing operations were halted between 1972 and 1976 to support facility modifications, but operations never resumed. The U.S. Department of Energy became responsible for the site through the West Valley Demonstration Project Act of 1980, legislation requiring the Department to solidify the high-level waste and dispose of it.