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Vote on nuclear waste dump expansion temporarily halted

Good.

A Travis County state district judge on Thursday sided with environmentalists and temporarily halted plans to allow a West Texas radioactive waste disposal site to accept waste from an additional three dozen states.

The decision by Judge Jon Wisser to issue a temporary restraining order for potential open meetings violations against the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission could delay the politically connected dump long after the order expires.

The commission was scheduled to meet Jan. 4 and vote on whether Texas can import radioactive waste from outside Texas and Vermont, two days before a new Vermont governor who has expressed reservations about expanding the site takes office.

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The judge agreed, issued the restraining order and ordered the parties back on Jan. 13. In the meantime, the balance of power on the commission is scheduled to change.

The eight-member commission is made up of six Texans — all appointed by Gov. Rick Perry — and two Vermonters. Currently, the Vermonters and four of the Texans have said they support the expansion. The commission needs five votes to take waste from other states.

There’s a chance the Jan. 4 meeting could still happen. The commission was not represented at Thursday’s hearing because the advocacy groups did not contact the attorney general’s office, which has represented the commission on some matters. Lawyers with the attorney general’s office later won a hearing, set for Monday, on whether the restraining order should be lifted.

Some background is here. At least there’s a chance we could have a meeting on this that can reasonably be described as “public”, which was not the case before. I presume you can still address any feedback you may have on this to [email protected], so take advantage of it if you wish. Texas Vox has more.

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