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Schumer battles for W. Valley
[July 09, 2008]

Schumer battles for W. Valley

(Buffalo News, The (NY) (KRT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jul. 9--WASHINGTON -- The West Valley Demonstration Project would have to cut up to 50 jobs and slow down its work in the coming year unless Sen. Charles

E. Schumer wins his battle to increase funding for the Cattaraugus County nuclear waste site.

Schumer on Tuesday urged the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide $80 million for the project for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, up from the $57 million suggested by President Bush, which is the level in the House version of the bill.

"With adequate funds and resources, the legacy of radioactive waste that has plagued West Valley and the surrounding communities for decades can finally be addressed," Schumer said. "Without such funds, however, conditions at the site will further deteriorate, the cost of cleanup will increase, and the citizens of New York will continue to shoulder this decades-old burden."

The New York Democrat made his case in a letter to the top members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which will mark up the fiscal 2009 funding bill Thursday.

The House Appropriations Committee has marked up its version of the bill for energy and water and froze West Valley funding at $57 million.

A spokesman for West Valley Environmental Services, the contractor that operates the facility, steered questions about the possible cuts to an Energy Department official, who could not be reached to comment.

But the office of Rep. Randy Kuhl, R-Hammondsport, confirmed that the House version of the spending bill would force the project to cut up to 50 jobs and delay decontamination efforts, waste transportation and disposal, equipment purchasing and environmental monitoring. Kuhl had lobbied for the $80 million in funding in the House bill.

The $57 million allocated for the project in the House bill compares with $55.5 million in the current year's budget.

Schumer failed in his efforts to get the funding level increased in the current budget, prompting an earlier round of 50 job cuts at the facility.

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