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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: LINE Commission

Former Sen. Larry Craig: Nuke agreement, like Constitution, may need changes over time

Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig is among those addressing lawmakers on the House Environment and Senate Resources committees  in the Capitol Auditorium  this afternoon, as part of a presentation on nuclear energy in Idaho, past and future. Craig offered “a bit of a historic perspective,” saying, “Gov. Andrus saw the problem and took action. Gov. Batt was elected, he was faced with a responsibility to deal with the issue that he was handed when he was elected governor. I was then the U.S. senator, I got a call from our governor saying, ‘Larry, what do we do?’ I assembled the DOE people and the governor and the attorney general came, and the discussion began that ultimately crafted the agreement, unique to all the states in the nation.”

Craig noted that the agreement, which is best known as the Batt Agreement or the nuclear waste settlement agreement, was endorsed by Idaho voters. “Those who embrace the agreement today, and that’s all of us, amongst them were once its enemies and its critics,” he said.

Still, he said, ”There may be some need for change in the future, depending on mission and dynamics and understanding.” Craig compared the waste agreement to the U.S. Constitution. “It’s been changed 27 times over 200 years to fit the changing needs of a changing nation,” he said. “We may want to do that with this agreement in the future to meet the mission of the laboratory.”

Gov. Butch Otter and state Commerce Director Jeff Sayer also are among those addressing lawmakers at this afternoon’s session; you can watch live here. Otter applauded the work of his Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission, in its newly issued review of the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho and nuclear-related activities in the state. “I concur wholeheartedly with the commission’s assessment that the Idaho National Laboratory is a significant state asset,” Otter said. “The state of Idaho should take immediate and long-term steps to enhance the future of the nation’s lead nuclear research and development laboratory that is responsible for over 24,000 jobs and has an annual economic impact on Idaho of more than $3.5 billion.” Click below for more from Otter in his full news release.

Public comment sought on positioning INL as nation’s key nuclear research site

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter announced today that his Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission has presented a “progress report” to the state and is seeking public comment. “I think this progress report clearly points out that the environmental cleanup envisioned by my predecessors has largely been realized while at the same time we’ve established INL as the nation’s preeminent nuclear research and development laboratory,” Otter said in a statement. “There’s been significant economic benefit to the entire state.  As we sustain and even try to build on that in the future, the Commission is working to answer some tough questions and I applaud its effort to involve the public in that discussion before making final recommendations.”

Click below for Otter's full announcement and a list of FAQ's about the report. You can read the 52-page report here. Among its central questions:  Should Idaho modify then-Gov. Phil Batt's 1995 nuclear waste settlement agreement to allow additional nuclear materials to be brought to INL for research or other purposes, to maintain its mission as the nation's lead nuclear energy laboratory? The report's preliminary recommendation: Yes, at least in the context of specific research and manufacturing proposals. The report calls for significant investments at INL to make it the place for “concentrating and consolidating the nation’s nuclear energy research capability.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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