N.M. delays Hanford waste shipments, schedules hearings

N.M. delays Hanford waste shipments, schedules hearings
In this May 6, 2004 file photo, workers use heavy machinery to remove waste in an area near two dormant nuclear reactors on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The state of New Mexico has declined the Department of Energy's request for quick approval of a proposal to bring radioactive waste from Washington state's Hanford Nuclear Reservation to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

Instead, the New Mexico Environment Department says it will hold public hearings before any decisions are made.

Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn in a statement Monday evening said the decision will ensure that "the public's views are carefully considered" before the state acts on the Department of Energy's request to modify the WIPP permit to allow the waste to be brought from Washington state.

The DOE in March asked the department for a quick approval of a change in the WIPP permit so it can bring 3.1 million gallons from leaking waste tanks at Hanford.