Opponents to Holtec’s CISF in NM file Initial Briefs in federal appeal

Halt Holtec AFES tee shirt

On September 1st, opponents to Holtec International’s consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) — for high-level radioactive waste, targeted at southeastern New Mexico — filed their Initial Briefs at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

See Beyond Nuclear’s Initial Brief, here.

See Don’t Waste Michigan and Sierra Club’s Initial Brief, here.*

Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd., and Permian Basin Land and Royalty Owners — ranchers, as well as fossil fuel extractors — also submitted filings.

The opponents’ — Petitioners — appeals have been many long years in the making. By one count, seven years (2016-2023), and counting.

Any Friend of the Court briefs, in support of Petitioners’ arguments, must be filed by September 8th.

The Respondents — the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the United States of America (represented by the U.S. Department of Justice) — must respond by November 9, 2023.

The Respondent-Intervenor — Holtec International — must respond by December 1, 2023.

All Parties must then submit Final Briefs by January 23, 2024.

Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled. See the Court’s scheduling order, here.

The Sept. 1st filing deadline came a week to the day after the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (HQ’d in New Orleans, Louisiana) ruled in favor of the State of Texas, and Fasken/PBLRO’s, appeals against the Interim Storage Partners, LLC (ISP) CISF targeted at Andrews County, West Texas. Oral arguments had been held in September 2022.

ISP and Holtec’s CISFs are very closely connected. They are nearly identical schemes, except Holtec (at 173,600 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste storage) is four-times larger than ISP (up to 40,000 MT). The twin dumps are just 40-some miles apart geographically, across the New Mexico/Texas state line.

The D.C. Circuit had ruled against all opponents (Beyond Nuclear; Don’t Waste Michigan et al. and Sierra Club; Fasken/PBLRO) to the ISP dump in January 2023, after oral arguments in November 2022.

NRC, DOJ, and ISP’s response to the 5th Circuit ruling is yet to be seen. So too the ruling’s impact on federal appeals against Holtec’s CISF, also to be heard in the D.C., 5th, and 10th (Denver — an appeal brought by the State of New Mexico) Circuits.

[Image design above by Noel Marquez, Alliance for Environmental Strategies (AFES) co-founder, in s.e. NM. The design incorporates NM’s state colors — turquoise and gold — as well as the Zia Pueblo’s Sun symbol, all framed within the shape of the state’s perimeter.]

*This environmental coalition consists of: SIERRA CLUB (NM), DON’T WASTE MICHIGAN (MI), CITIZENS’ ENVIRONMENTAL COALITION (NY), CITIZENS FOR ALTERNATIVES TO CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION (MI), NUCLEAR ENERGY INFORMATION SERVICE (IL), SAN LUIS OBISPO MOTHERS FOR PEACE (CA), and NUCLEAR ISSUES STUDY GROUP (NM, recently renamed DNA, Demand Nuclear Abolition). Don’t Waste Michigan et al. is represented by Toledo, Ohio attorney Terry Lodge. Sierra Club is represented by Cedar Rapids, Iowa attorney Wally Taylor.

Beyond Nuclear is represented by Washington, D.C. attorney Diane Curran, and Atlanta, GA attorney Mindy Goldstein.

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