Petition to block nuclear waste experiment reaches over 700 signatures

Tensions continue to rise in Quay County over efforts by the Department of Energy. (ABC 7 Amarillo -Tatiana Toomer)

Some Quay County residents are advocating that other areas, including the Texas Panhandle, need to get riled up about a potential deep borehole field test in Nara Visa, because they believe it could have long-term and widespread negative implications.

“This isn’t just a Quay County issue, this is a regional issue," said Bart Wyatt, who is opposed to the potential nuclear waste experiment lead by the Department of Energy.

Enercon, a company contracted by DOE, continues to assure that they are conducting environmental reviews to make sure there will be no negative impacts.

“We’re doing an environmental review of any potential negative impacts from the project, and if there are any we’re going to mitigate and avoid those impacts,” Chip Cameron, Enercon spokesperson, stated.

Wyatt told ABC 7 News, he believes there's a bigger picture. He cautioned the field tests could affect people outside the limits of Quay County.

“You’ve got the Canadian River water basin, that shed is only 8 miles away from the site," he warned. "You’re going to have this going right down the watershed, right into Lake Meredith and right into where CRMWA is pumping Amarillo’s water and Lubbock’s water and all points in between,” Wyatt continued.

Community members have been holding public meetings to raise awareness about the project. But, Enercon said the most recent forums have blocked them from educating people on the facts.

“We just wanted to be able to present the information and we were treated with a total lack of courtesy," said Cameron. “My colleagues didn’t get a chance to answer questions. People called them liars," he added.

“I was actually the moderator of it, said Wyatt. "And it was no different what happened actually in Nara Visa meeting whenever they had it and Chip Cameron was moderating that. So they had time to answer questions, it was just because they had a barrage of questions that they could not answer,” he speculated.

Enercon also noted that the recent opinions voiced at the community meetings do not reflect Quay County as a whole.

“We know what a small percentage of the community thinks about it, and that’s fine that they feel that way, even though I don’t think it’s consistent with the facts at all," Cameron maintained.

“We do have a strong voice. We’ve got over 700 petition signatures," Wyatt affirmed. "We’ve had a strong force in opposition in the meetings. And we’ve never had yet but the same two people come to all of the meetings that are actually in favor of it,” he continued.

Cameron said Enercon will have more public forums to speak with the community, possibly in April. For the next community meeting organized by residents, click here.

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