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Eye On Boise

Former Govs. Batt, Andrus take sharp issue with Otter, Wasden over nuke waste

Former Idaho Governors Cecil Andrus, right, and Phil Batt, left, talk to reporters, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 in Boise (AP)
Former Idaho Governors Cecil Andrus, right, and Phil Batt, left, talk to reporters, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 in Boise (AP)

Two former Idaho governors – Republican Phil Batt and Democrat Cecil Andrus – called a press conference today to object sitting Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s agreement to accept more nuclear waste at the Idaho National Laboratory, saying it violates Batt’s 1995 agreement with the feds.

“Attorney General Wasden tells me that the reason for this offer of accepting waste for research contingent on compliance is to give them more incentive to comply with the high-level abatement plan,” Batt said. “I think they’ve got plenty of incentive already, and I think it’s a mistake, because the main part of the agreement is violated. You take an ounce of the waste from the federal government, they want to give you 10,000 pounds. And they always say they’ll move it out, but they won’t.”

Andrus called the move a “travesty,” and said, “It’s pretty obvious that they were putting this together for many weeks,” but held off until after the election, announcing the move only on the busy weekend of the inauguration. “There was really not any opportunity in their mind for Gov. Batt and myself to take issue with them. … Neither one of us have any intention of letting this decision by two of the elected officials of the state of Idaho come to pass.” Andrus added, “I can tell him what his legacy is going to be … it’s going to be that they have created a Yucca Mountain in Idaho.”

Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker has a full report here, including video from the press conference. AP reporter Keith Ridler has a report here. Gov. Otter will speak to reporters about it shortly.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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