Court lacks authority in New Mexico lawsuit against nuclear waste site

A proposal to build a temporary nuclear waste storage site near Carlsbad and Hobbs drew a lawsuit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the agency tasked with permitting the facility, from the State of New Mexico which sought to block the project.

In a Monday filing, the NRC asked the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico to dismiss the State’s lawsuit due to lack of jurisdiction.

The State alleged in the suit that the NRC acted illegally in issuing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Holtec project that found the site would have minimal environmental impact and recommended a permit be granted.

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Citing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas argued federal law stipulated a permanent repository be available before an interim storage site, like Holtec’s, could be permitted.