FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 6, 1998
| CONTACT: Staci Turner
SACRAMENTO -- - Attorney General Dan Lungren today announced that there is no legal basis upon which to file a lawsuit in an effort to stop the Clinton Administration's planned shipment of spent nuclear fuel rods through Northern California.
Pursuant to Government Code section 12600 et seq., Lungren directed his staff to conduct an independent review in order to determine if he has the authority to successfully file a lawsuit to halt the importation of fuel rods at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. After a thorough review of relevant state and federal laws and the environmental impact statement for the shipment, Lungren concluded that a lawsuit would be meritless and a waste of taxpayers' money and the court's time.
"It appears that the Clinton Administration has complied with the relevant laws on this matter, and the State of California has no basis upon which to challenge their proposed shipment of nuclear fuel rods," Lungren said. "Rather than a legal question, this issue can only be currently characterized as a political one. In other words, as the United States government seeks to fulfill its obligations under the 'Atoms for Peace' program, the choice of the route of shipment of this cargo is in the hands of the Clinton Administration in Washington in consultation with the Congress."
"In order that there be a full understanding of this office's legal analysis of our decision pursuant to our Government Code section 12600 authority," Lungren said, "I have authorized the release of the memo from Chief Assistant Attorney General Rod Walston of the Public Rights Division."
While reviewing the issue, Lungren's office took into consideration the fact that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, which are responsible for protecting marine and fishery resources, have expressed the view that the imported fuel program is unlikely to affect coastal marine or fishery resources. The staff also noted that Contra Costa County and the City of Concord were unsuccessful in their efforts to take legal action against the U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, a lawsuit filed by South Carolina, which is to receive approximately 95% of the spent fuel rods, was rejected by the court. Five shipments of the material are scheduled to travel through California on the way to Idaho in the next 12 years. The first shipment is expected this month.
For a copy of the memo detailing the findings of the independent review conducted by Lungren's office, call (916) 324-5500.
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL * 1300 I STREET *
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA 95814 * (916) 324-5500