Morning Briefing - June 12, 2019
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June 12, 2019

Texas Governor Vetoes Bill With Financial Breaks for Rad Waste Disposal

By ExchangeMonitor

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week vetoed legislation that would have given Waste Control Specialists a two-year break on certain charges and fees for its radioactive waste disposal operations.

“Senate Bill 1804 was a laudable effort to address domestic violence, until someone slipped in an ill-considered giveaway to a radioactive waste disposal facility,” Abbott said in a June 5 veto statement. “Unfortunately, the bill author’s good idea about domestic violence has been dragged down by a bad idea about radioactive waste.”

That “someone” was Rep. Alfonso Nevárez (D), who on May 22 attached two amendments to the legislation that previously had no relation to radioactive waste issues. The Texas Legislature approved the underlying bill, sending it to Abbott on May 26.

If approved, the amendments would have delayed, from Sept. 1, 2019, to Sept. 1, 2021, the date of enactment of two updates to the Texas Health and Safety Code. One update directed the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission to assess a 10% surcharge of the total contracted rate for waste from non-party states to the compact facility. The other placed a 5% fee on gross receipts from compact waste disposed of at the Compact Waste Facility, along with federal waste sent to a federal waste facility.

Texas is the owner and license holder for the Compact Waste Facility, operated by Waste Control Specialists on its Andrews County property.

“We’re of course disappointed to learn of the Governor’s objections, as this amendment continued current law, previously enacted and signed into law by the governor, and ensures that costs associated with disposal of waste from cancer treatments, x-rays and other essential human health activities are not burdened with additional taxation,” Waste Control Specialists said Wednesday.

The Dallas-based company has operated at a loss since being established in 2012. After losing millions of dollars on the business, holding company Valhi Inc. sold it to private equity firm J.F. Lehman & Co. in January 2018.