2
Federal and State Low-Level Radioactive Waste Acts

The efforts of New York State to site and develop a low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) disposal facility were required by federal laws enacted in 1980 and 1985. These laws established the responsibility of each state for low-level radioactive waste disposal and set strict schedules for compliance with associated milestones and penalties. The New York State Legislature enacted a state law in 1986 to comply with the federal laws. This law mandated an aggressive effort to site and develop an LLRW disposal facility in the state. This chapter provides a brief review of these federal and state acts to set the context for New York State's siting efforts. Table 2.1 illustrates the relation in time between the legislative mandates and the major activities of the Siting Commission.

Federal LLRW Policy Act of 1980

The federal Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 (P.L. 95-573; hereafter referred to as the ''1980 Act'') required states to provide disposal capacity for commercial low-level radioactive waste1 generated within their borders. (See Appendix H for a copy of the act.) Facilities for disposing of the nation's civilian low-level radioactive

1  

The 1980 Act defines low-level radioactive waste as "radioactive waste not classified as high-level radioactive waste, transuranic waste, spent nuclear fuel, or byproduct material as defined in section 11 e.(2) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954." For a classification of low-level radioactive waste according to Title 10, Part 61 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR 61), Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste, see Appendix G. See also Box 1.1.



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--> 2 Federal and State Low-Level Radioactive Waste Acts The efforts of New York State to site and develop a low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) disposal facility were required by federal laws enacted in 1980 and 1985. These laws established the responsibility of each state for low-level radioactive waste disposal and set strict schedules for compliance with associated milestones and penalties. The New York State Legislature enacted a state law in 1986 to comply with the federal laws. This law mandated an aggressive effort to site and develop an LLRW disposal facility in the state. This chapter provides a brief review of these federal and state acts to set the context for New York State's siting efforts. Table 2.1 illustrates the relation in time between the legislative mandates and the major activities of the Siting Commission. Federal LLRW Policy Act of 1980 The federal Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 (P.L. 95-573; hereafter referred to as the ''1980 Act'') required states to provide disposal capacity for commercial low-level radioactive waste1 generated within their borders. (See Appendix H for a copy of the act.) Facilities for disposing of the nation's civilian low-level radioactive 1   The 1980 Act defines low-level radioactive waste as "radioactive waste not classified as high-level radioactive waste, transuranic waste, spent nuclear fuel, or byproduct material as defined in section 11 e.(2) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954." For a classification of low-level radioactive waste according to Title 10, Part 61 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR 61), Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste, see Appendix G. See also Box 1.1.

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--> TABLE 2.1 Timeline Showing History of New York State LLRW Siting Process 1980   Dec.   1980 Act takes effect 1986   Jan.   1985 Amendments Act takes effect July   Federal milestone requiring compact legislation or state decision to develop facility 1986 State Act takes effect 1987   May   Governor appoints Siting Commission June   First Siting Commission meeting Dec.   DEC issues draft 6 NYCRR 382 siting criteria regulations Siting Commission issues draft Siting Plan 1988   Jan.   Federal milestone for siting plan and designation of host state Mar.   Governor appoints chairman of Advisory Committee Sept.   SESR issued Nov.   Siting Plan issued Dec.   CAIR issued 1989   Sept.   ROPSI issued 1990   Jan.   Federal milestone requiring filing of facility license applications or governor's certification of state's ability to manage waste April   Governor halts siting effort July   Amendments to 1986 State Act take effect, with requirement for independent review 1992   Jan.   Federal milestone requiring facility license applications 1993   Jan.   Federal milestone allowing compacts to limit facility access Mar.   DEC issues final 6 NYCRR 382 Apr.   NRC study begins Aug.   Excluded Areas Report issued 1995   Aug.   New York State Legislature ends work of Siting Commission NOTE: CAIR = Candidate Area Identification Report; DEC = New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; NRC = National Research Council; NYCRR = New York Code of Rules and Regulations; ROPSI = Report on Potential Sites Identification; SESR = Statewide Exclusionary Screening Report; Siting Plan = Plan for Selecting Sites for Disposal of Low-Level Radioactive Wastes.

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--> waste previously had been licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) and agreement states2 and operated by commercial firms.3 In the late 1970s the states hosting these facilities became concerned about corrosion and leakage of waste packages and expressed the need for geographic equity in the disposal of low-level waste. The 1980 Act encouraged states to form regional compacts, subject to approval by the U.S. Congress, and to share disposal facilities. As an incentive to form compacts and to expiate potential interstate commerce clause issues, the 1980 Act allowed compacts to exclude wastes generated outside their borders (i.e., "out-of-region wastes") after January 1, 1986. The National Governors' Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and many state governments supported the 1980 Act, anticipating an opportunity to demonstrate the ability of the states to solve problems relating to the safety and welfare of their citizens and their economies. After enactment of the 1980 Act, many states entered into serious negotiations to form regional compacts. The states with operating LLRW disposal facilities—Nevada, South Carolina, and Washington—were quickly joined by nearby states to form the Rocky Mountain Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact, Southeast Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Compact, and Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management, respectively. Some states, including several populous states with large volumes of low-level waste, opted not to join a compact but to develop their own facilities. 2   See discussion under regulatory requirements later in this chapter. 3   Prior to the 1980 Act, commercial sites were in operation at Beatty, Nevada; Barnwell, South Carolina; and Richland, Washington. Disposal sites had been operated at Maxey Flats, Kentucky; Sheffield, Illinois; and West Valley, New York, but they were forced to close because of operational problems. The West Valley site was closed after the disposal trenches filled with water. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations now prohibit waste disposal in unlined trenches (Title 6, Part 382 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations, Regulation of Low-level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facilities: Certification of Proposed Sites and Disposal Methods, Section 382.31(a)(1)).

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--> New York entered into negotiations with other northeastern states under the sponsorship of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors4 in an effort to establish a northeast regional compact. Because these states produced disparate volumes of low-level radioactive waste, and because of other political and technical factors, this 11-state regional compact was never established. After a thorough study, concluded in April 1984, the New York State Energy Office recommended that the state not join a regional compact but instead enact legislation, with adequate appropriations, to establish a two-year process to identify a site for permanent LLRW disposal within New York. In 1985 only New Jersey and Connecticut joined the Northeast Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact. Subsequently in February 1986, Pennsylvania established the Appalachian States Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact, now composed of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Pennsylvania agreed to be the host state. Federal LLRW Amendments Act of 1985 In the years immediately following passage of the 1980 Act, states made relatively little progress in developing new LLRW disposal facilities. By early 1985 it was clear that no new disposal capacity would be available by January 1, 1986—the date specified in the 1980 Act when compacts with existing facilities could exclude out-of-region wastes. In recognition of this problem, the U.S. Congress passed the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 (P.L. 99–240; hereafter referred to as the “1985 Amendments Act,” see Appendix H). To facilitate the passage of this act, the three states with existing disposal facilities agreed to remain open to the rest of the nation for an additional seven years (from 1986 to 1992). In return, these states were authorized to impose surcharges on waste received from generators outside their compacts. In addition, Congress established strict milestones for the remaining states to develop LLRW disposal facilities. 4   The Coalition of Northeastern Governors included the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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--> An escalating set of penalties was to be imposed for failure to meet the milestones of the 1985 Amendments Act. Based on a historical analysis, limits were placed on the volumes of waste that could be disposed of at existing facilities between 1986 and 1992. LLRW generators in states that failed to meet the milestones of the 1985 Amendments Act were subject to being assessed a penalty surcharge or denied access to existing disposal facilities. The milestones and associated penalties are described below. July 1, 1986. Each state was required to enact compact legislation, or the governor was required to indicate the state’s intent to develop a disposal facility. Failure to meet this milestone could result in a penalty surcharge on generators of $20 per cubic foot of waste disposed. Continued failure to meet this milestone by January 1, 1987, could result in denial of access to existing disposal facilities. January 1, 1988. Each state was required to develop and delegate the authority to implement a siting plan. Failure to meet this milestone could result in a penalty surcharge on generators of $40 to $80 per cubic foot of waste disposed. Continued failure to meet this milestone by January 1, 1989, could result in denial of access to existing disposal facilities. January 1, 1990. Each state was required to file a complete license application or the governor was to certify that the state would provide for the disposal of its waste. Failure to meet this milestone could result in denial of access to the existing disposal facilities. January 1, 1992. Each state was required to file a complete license application with the appropriate state or federal authority. Failure to meet this milestone could result in a penalty surcharge on generators of $120 per cubic foot of waste disposed. January 1, 1993. Compacts with existing disposal sites could prohibit disposal of wastes from outside their regions. Effective January 1, 1993, all compacts were authorized to exclude out-of-region waste from their disposal facilities. Further, if a state or compact failed to provide disposal capacity by that date, generators could require states to “take title to” the waste generated

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--> within their borders. If a state or compact failed to develop a new disposal facility by January 1, 1996, the state was obligated to take title to and possession of its waste. This provision was later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, as discussed below, while other provisions were upheld. The 1985 Amendments Act also clarified the wastes for which states would be responsible. These included all LLRW generated within the state that consisted of or contained class A, B, or C radioactive waste as defined by 10 CFR 61.55,5 in effect on January 26, 1993, except for waste owned or generated by the U.S. Department of Energy, waste owned or generated by the U.S. Navy as a result of the decommissioning of U.S. Navy vessels, or waste from the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program. The State of New York, joined by Allegany and Cortland counties, challenged the constitutionality of the 1985 Amendments Act before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992. The court upheld the constitutionality of the act and the authority of the compacts to prohibit disposal of out-of-region wastes; however, it struck down the provision that required states to take title to and possession of their wastes. The court reasoned that this provision exceeded the powers of Congress and that it was inconsistent with the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.6 Implementation of the 1985 Amendments Act From 1986 to late 1992, the three states and compacts with existing disposal facilities worked together to enforce the surcharge and access penalties mandated by the 1985 Amendments Act. These states and compacts did in fact deny access to their disposal facilities for failure to meet 1985 Amendments Act milestones. The Beatty, Nevada, site ceased operation altogether on December 31, 1992. The Northwest 5   Title 10, Part 61, Code of Federal Regulations, Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste. See Appendix G. 6   The Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

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--> Compact limited waste acceptance at its Richland, Washington, facility to member states effective January 1, 1993. The Northwest Compact also entered into an agreement with the Rocky Mountain Compact to accept its waste. As of March 1996, 44 states were members of 10 compacts (Figure 2.1). Effective July 1, 1994, the Southeast Compact also limited waste acceptance at its Barnwell, South Carolina, site to member states. In mid-1995, however, the South Carolina Legislature passed legislation to withdraw from the Southeast Compact and to make the Barnwell facility available, with the assessment of a very large surcharge, to all states in the nation except North Carolina. The legislation took effect on July 1, 1995. The Barnwell facility contains enough licensed space to remain open for 10 years; however, availability of the space depends upon uncertain political factors that could shorten significantly the life of the facility. Several other facilities are open to all states for treatment and/or disposal of specific types of wastes such as naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), soil and debris from cleanup of contaminated sites, liquid scintillation wastes, and certain other types of low-activity, low-level radioactive wastes. New York State LLRW Management Act of 1986 In July 1986 the governor of New York signed the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Act (hereafter referred to as the “1986 State Act"), which established a framework for complying with the federal 1985 Amendments Act. The 1986 State Act established a Siting Commission and an Advisory Committee and assigned specific functions to several state agencies for establishing a disposal facility (see Appendix H). This legislation contained several explicit directives for the rapid establishment of a disposal facility, including the following: The legislature finds immediate implementation of steps toward establishing by January first, nineteen hundred

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--> Figure 2.1 Map of the United States showing the status of low-level radioactive  waste compacts as of March 1996. Shaded states do not belong to a compact.  Source: Graphic by Afton associates for the LLW Forum. March 1996.

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--> ninety-three low-level radioactive waste management facilities . . . necessary to provide for continued operation of essential and beneficial . . . facilities in New York which use radioactive materials. (L. 1986, C. 673, § 2) The commission shall immediately commence the preparation of a siting and disposal method selection . . . . (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending New York State Environmental Conservation Law [ECL] Art. 29, § 29–0303.1) Agency Responsibilities The New York Legislature split the responsibilities to carry out the mandates specified in the 1986 State Act among several state agencies. A list of responsible agencies and tasks is shown below: New York State LLRW Siting Commission. The Siting Commission was directed to select sites and disposal methods, to prepare a draft environmental impact statement, and to apply to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for certification of site(s) and method(s). Members of the Siting Commission were to be appointed by the governor and were to include a geologist, physician, health physicist, professional engineer, and a private citizen who would act as chairperson. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The legislature directed the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to design and operate the disposal facility; to participate in preparation of a draft environmental impact statement on facility design, construction, operation, and closure; to apply to DEC for permits to build, operate, and eventually close the facility; and to apply to the New York State Department of Labor for a license to handle radioactive materials. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority was also required to collect information and provide annual reports to the governor and legislature on the types and

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--> quantities of LLRW generated within the state and to collect annual assessments from operating nuclear power plants. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The legislature directed the DEC to promulgate regulations specifying criteria for identification of a disposal site and disposal method; certify compliance with these regulations; prepare a final environmental impact statement on facility design, construction, operation, and closure; and approve or deny permits for construction and operation. The DEC was also required to promulgate regulations on financial assurance requirements for LLRW disposal facility operators and to make recommendations about the nature and form of state assistance to local communities. Upon reviewing the application from the Siting Commission, the DEC would certify the site if it was found to comply with DEC regulations. New York State Department of Health. The New York State Department of Health was required to conduct a statewide public information program on the health and safety implications of LLRW management. New York State LLRW Advisory Committee (referred to throughout this report as the “Advisory Committee"). The purpose of the Advisory Committee was to advise the Siting Commission on the selection of the site and disposal methods, to advise DEC on its LLRW regulatory program, and to advise the New York State Department of Health on its LLRW public information program. The legislature directed the governor to appoint the members and the chair of the Advisory Committee. The members included the state geologist; the commissioners of health, labor, the state Energy Office, and transportation, or their respective designees; the secretary of state, or his or her designee; two representatives of nonprofit environmental organizations; two health physicists or physicians; two representatives of LLRW generators; and one private citizen. Additionally, three private citizens were to be appointed to the Advisory Committee from each of the counties in which proposed sites were identified.

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--> Site Development The 1986 State Act did not specify the details of the site development process. It encouraged the selection of a single site, but a second site was allowed if the Siting Commission found that the use of an additional site presents specific advantages. . . . To the extent the commission determines that different disposal methods are appropriate for different categories of low-level radioactive waste with differing physical or chemical characteristics, the commission may select more than one disposal method to be utilized at each particular site. (L. 1986 C. 673 § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29–0303.5) The 1986 State Act reflected the strict schedule provisions of the federal 1985 Amendments Act by directing the Siting Commission to immediately commence the preparation of a siting and disposal method selection which shall, upon certification by the department [DEC], be the site or sites and method or methods for permanent disposal facilities. (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29–0303.1) Further, the Siting Commission was directed to complete the preparation of its site and disposal method selection and . . . submit its application for certification of this selection by the department [DEC] . . . by December 1, 1988. (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29–0303.2) From the effective date of the legislation, New York State had 28 months to select a low-level waste disposal site or sites and to prepare a draft environmental impact statement on each.

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--> Public Participation The 1986 State Act specifically called for public participation throughout the process of site selection. Opportunities for citizen participation were to begin with the development of the site selection plan and continue through each of the decision points leading to the selection of a preferred site. The act distributed the responsibilities for public participation among the Siting Commission, New York State Department of Health, and the Advisory Committee. The Siting Commission was required to keep the public informed of its activities in developing the draft environmental impact statement . . . and encourage the public to participate by providing views, comments, information, and analysis concerning siting and disposal method selection for permanent disposal facilities. (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29-0307) The Advisory Committee was established as a specific form of public input. It was directed by the New York State Legislature to provide information and review and assist activities of the commission . . . and to receive a written report from the commission, the department [DEC], and the energy research and development authority on plans and progress in carrying out activities and duties pursuant to the low-level waste management act. In particular, the advisory committee shall provide information and recommendations in response to the commission's draft environmental impact statement . . . including reviewing public views, comments, and information submitted in response thereto. (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29-0501.2.a)

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--> The New York State Department of Health was also given responsibility for public participation in the following directive: In consultation and cooperation with the advisory committee . . . and with the department of environmental conservation, the commissioner of health shall plan and carry out a statewide public information program on the public health and safety implications of low-level radioactive waste management. The content of such program shall include a basic explanation of the types of materials which comprise low-level radioactive waste and why such materials require special handling and care; and reasonably detailed explanations of alternative disposal methods and their probable effects. (L. 1986, C. 673, § 6, amending ECL Art. 24-C, § 2485) The 1986 State Act required DEC to hold public hearings on the proposed siting criteria regulations (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29-0103.2) and on the draft environmental impact statement as well as the application for certification (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29-0105.1). The final environmental impact statement was to include copies of the public hearing minutes; the recommendations of the Advisory Committee; and the department's responses to the views, comments, and recommendations. Technical Guidelines The 1986 State Act provided the Siting Commission with several technical guidelines for siting a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility. The relevant text from the act is given below: The commission shall take into account the following factors in the selection of the permanent disposal facility site or sites and disposal method or methods:

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--> a)   the nature and probability of the impacts on public health and safety, including predictable adverse effects from: (i.) accidents during transportation of low-level radioactive waste to such facilities; (ii.) contamination of ground or surface water by leaching and runoff from such facilities; and (iii.) fires or explosions from improper storage or disposal of volatile, combustible, or potentially explosive materials, if any, which may compose a portion of the low-level radioactive waste to be delivered to such facilities; b)   the nature of the probable environmental impacts, including the predictable adverse effects on the natural environment and ecology, scenic, historic, cultural and recreational values, water and air quality, and wildlife; c)   the potential for avoidance or mitigation of harm from the unanticipated release of low-level radioactive waste or contaminated materials; d)   the ability for retrieval or recovery of such waste; e)   differences in the density of population in the vicinity of the potential sites; f)   the adequacy of routes and means for transportation of low-level radioactive waste to such facilities; g)   the nature of the probable impact of such facilities on local governmental units within which such facilities would be located; and h)   the comparative economic implications, including those resulting from engineering considerations, of the potential site or sites and disposal methods for such facilities. (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29-0301.4-4(h))

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--> Implementation Although the 1986 State Act took effect in July 1986, an active effort to site a disposal facility did not begin until about 10 months later—in May 1987—when the governor appointed the five-member Siting Commission (Table 2.1). The executive director of the Siting Commission was appointed by the chairman of the Siting Commission, and the professional staff of the Siting Commission were hired soon thereafter. Employees of the Siting Commission collectively represented the following professions: law, geology, hydrology, LLRW disposal technology, health physics, environmental analysis, communications, and quality assurance. The Siting Commission held its first meeting in June 1987. The governor appointed the chairman of the Advisory Committee in March 1988, about nine months after the first Siting Commission meeting. Regulatory Requirements In 1982 the USNRC promulgated a set of regulations to govern the land disposal of LLRW at all commercial facilities (10 CFR 61). The regulations set forth the procedures for obtaining a license for a land disposal facility, performance objectives to protect human health and the environment, technical requirements for facilities, and financial assurances. They describe the roles of states and Indian tribes, records, reports, tests, and inspections and address site characterization, disposal site suitability requirements, and disposal site design. In 1959 the federal Atomic Energy Act authorized the USNRC (and its predecessors) to discontinue regulatory authority over radioactive materials in states that had complied with USNRC regulations and that had established adequate programs to protect public health and safety. States that have met these criteria are called ''agreement states.'' Because New York has been an agreement state since 1962, a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in the state would be licensed by the New York State Department of Labor, the agreement state agency. The

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--> regulations for the licensing process were developed by the DEC and were consistent with those of the USNRC. DEC Responsibilities As required by the 1986 State Act, the DEC issued draft regulations with specific criteria to site a permanent disposal facility in New York in December 1987 (6 NYCRR Part 3827). The DEC also conducted an environmental impact statement process for the adoption of the Part 382 regulations, and the final environmental impact statement was issued with the proposed regulations. The environmental impact statement analyzed the impact of the regulations and numerous issues associated with various provisions in Part 382. The DEC regulations "establish[ed] minimum criteria needed to ensure long-term isolation of LLRW and control exposure of the public and the environment to radiation from the disposal of LLRW" (DEC, 1987, p. 1-4). These regulations established detailed facility siting criteria, which are discussed further in Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 of this report. (They also established facility design criteria, which are not covered in this report for reasons discussed in Chapter 1.) The 1986 State Act also required the DEC to promulgate rules governing the financial assurance requirements for the disposal facility and regulating the design, construction, monitoring, and closing of the facility. The DEC regulations became a starting point for the Siting Commission's efforts to develop a plan for site identification and for selection of a disposal method. In order to be licensed, a proposed site was required to meet the DEC regulations. Public Participation The DEC regulations were much less specific than state law on the matter of public participation. They suggested, but did not require, that "[in] developing guidance [to the Siting Commission on developing plans for site characterization studies] the Department [DEC] may seek 7   Title 6, Part 382, New York Code of Rules and Regulations, Regulation of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Facilities: Certification of Proposed Sites and Disposal Methods.

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--> and consider recommendations from the public" (6 NYCRR 382.6(b)(2)). In addition, the regulations specifically required the Siting Commission to "hold at least one public scoping meeting to receive public comments on the scope of a draft environmental impact statement to be prepared regarding the Siting Commission's application for certification" (6 NYCRR 382.6(c)(2)). Siting Criteria The Part 382 regulations of the DEC are divided into seven subparts: (A) general provisions; (B) licenses; (C) performance objectives; (D) technical requirements for land disposal facilities; (E) financial assurances; (F) participation by state governments and Indian tribes; and (G) records, reports, tests, and inspections. The majority of the present report deals with Subpart D, which sets forth the requirements for siting of a land disposal facility. Analysis and Discussion The 1986 State Act imposed a strict schedule on the Siting Commission and other state agencies in order to keep New York in compliance with the federal 1985 Amendments Act. The Siting Commission was directed to select a permanent disposal facility "after consideration of all relevant public health and safety, environmental and economic factors" (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29-0303.5). The Siting Commission was required to complete the site and disposal method selection, along with a draft environmental impact statement, and submit them for certification no later than December 1, 1988 (L. 1986, C. 673, § 5, amending ECL Art. 29, § 29-0303.2)—that is, about 19 months after its members were appointed by the governor. The New York State Legislature directed the Siting Commission to complete an extensive list of tasks during this 19-month period. These tasks included selecting potential sites, performing site characterization studies and monitoring, and submitting plans for the characterization studies to DEC for prior review. The Siting Commission was also

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--> required to consult with DEC regarding the form and content of the application for certification; to submit, for the DEC's approval, its proposed scope before preparing the draft environmental impact statement; to hold public meetings on the scope of the draft environmental impact statement; and to submit copies of the application to the DEC, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the legislature, and the governor. As the committee shows later in this report, the Siting Commission did not appear to question this ambitious schedule but, rather, made every effort to meet the milestones. Indeed, state and federal schedules appear to have driven many of the priorities set and decisions made by the Siting Commission. The focus on deadlines may have created pressure to move too quickly during various stages in the site selection process. Subsequent chapters show that the compressed schedules in combination with insufficient strategic planning were detrimental to the effectiveness and credibility of the Siting Commission's work and contributed to the failure of the siting process.