New Mexico wants to end federal breaches of reporting rules for dangerous substances at a nuclear dump near Carlsbad, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
The state’s environmental agency this week formally ordered the Energy Department to explain how it will fall back in line with rules requiring weekly declarations on levels of methane, hydrogen and other hazardous substances at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the newspaper reported on Thursday. Federal officials began running afoul of the requirements after an escape of radioactive contaminants forced workers to vacate underground portions of the site in February.
A New Mexico Environment Department mandate also demands that more extensive supplementary assessments be issued on a biweekly basis. The state’s action applies to the Energy Department as well as the burial site’s managing contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership.
At a public meeting last week, a top state oversight official responded angrily to a site administrator for deflecting a journalist’s inquiry about waste casks suspected of having caused the February contamination incident. New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn called the move “a really good example … of some of the frustration that I’ve had since I was notified about this event.”
“If you have information, you need to disclose that information to the public immediately,” Flynn said.
Another New Mexico official said the nuclear dump’s management stepped up contacts with the state as a probe on the radiation incident unfolded.
Now, though, “we know on the record, in an enforceable order, we’re going to get this information regularly,” said Jeff Kendall, general counsel for the state’s environmental agency. “Noncompliance with the order has certain consequences.”
According to the Energy Department’s Carlsbad outpost, the new state mandate subjects subterranean areas of the facility to rules already in force at its surface.
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"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.