The Utah Legislature’s House Bill 220, Radioactive Waste Amendments, passed out of the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Standing Committee and is before the full House.

HB220 would allow just one person — a political appointee — to supersede a long-standing state law that was meant to protect public health and safety. This state law currently allows only class A waste and bans more dangerous forms of radioactive waste — classes B and C — from coming to Utah. The class B and C forms of waste are 20-70 times more radioactive than Class A waste, and they remain toxic for 200 years longer or more.

The ban on class B and C waste passed the Legislature in 2005 with widespread support, including from Utah's governor and the company now known as EnergySolutions.

HB220 could also open the door for certain forms of waste that get hotter over time, like depleted uranium, to be brought into our state. Doing this would bypass a multiyear technical assessment being performed by the Department of Environmental Quality on whether depleted uranium can be safely disposed of in Utah. The final results of that assessment are expected this spring.

Finally, this bill will not only threaten our public health but Utah's economy, as well. Allowing this more toxic form of waste will add few, if any, jobs or tax dollars to our economy, and Utah will become known as the nation's radioactive waste dumping ground. While Utah is projected to grow in the coming decades, a reputation for radioactive waste could hamper the desire of businesses, workers and tourists to come here.

Camille Erickson, Kaysville