Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Senior writer 

Borehole meeting draws 150

One resident says there should have been more.


April 5, 2017

Thomas Garcia

Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center speaks to Quay County residents about his opinion of the proposed borehole project and the Department of Energy during the March 28 public information meeting at the Tucumcari Convention Center. Hancock told residents that the DOE's research on boreholes "is not sound."

By Thomas Garcia

QCS Senior Writer

[email protected]

While more than 150 people attended a meeting to oppose a proposed borehole test in Quay County, one Tucumcari resident said the opposition "simply is not enough."

"It is going to take all of us, the whole community, to make a difference," said Mike Trujillo, Tucumcari resident.

Trujillo spoke out at the end of the March 27 meeting at the Tucumcari Convention Center. He said the word needs to spread to all of the community that it's up to everyone to tell their friends, family and neighbors.

"There should have been more people at this meeting to find out about what's being proposed," Trujillo said.

The organizers of the meeting - residents of Nara Visa, Logan and Quay County who oppose the project - have centered around the importance of voicing local communities' united opposition of the borehole project.

Atlanta-based Enercon and DOSECC Exploration Services of Salt Lake City, Utah were hired in December by the Department of Energy to explore the possibility of conducting a deep borehole test in Quay County to determine if deep boreholes might offer a safe and practical alternative to mined geologic repositories for nuclear waste storage.

"I was told If I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem," said Betty Coslett, Tucumcari resident.

Coslett said she was given this message by the family member of a politician who she would not name but stated they would soon be seeking re-election. She said her response to such a claim was simple.

"If it is a solution you need, then why don't you go and drill these holes under Washington D.C. and bury the nuclear waste there," Coslett said.

The DOE seems intent on pursuing the project in Quay County, despite the public objections, said Nara Visa resident and rancher Jay Cammack.

Cammack said he has written the DOE and asked why the organization is pursuing the borehole project and not another project that would better benefit the residents of the county, such as transmission lines for solar and wind energy technology.

Several residents asked what could be done to prevent this project from coming to the county.

Showing and voicing our united opposition to the companies and the DOE about this project is the first step, said Bart Wyatt, meeting moderator, adding that residents need to take an active role in battling the project by signing petitions and sending letters to the DOE.

"The DOE and Enercon will go away if you, as a community, continue to do what you are doing, in saying no," said Don Hancock with the Southwest Research and Information Center, an organization that provides information to the public on the effects of energy development and resource exploitation, according to its website.

"Your being here tonight, signing the petitions and sending the letters will make a difference," he said.

Hancock said the science behind the borehole test is flawed; there are too many unknown factors to make it a viable option for nuclear waste disposal.

"The one thing the DOE is good at is spending tax payers dollars on research that is not sound," Hancock said.

With the numbers that have been showing up and opposing the project, the DOE may be prompted to abandon the project in Quay County, he added.

Hancock said currently the law prevents the DOE from using eminent domain to seize the land for nuclear waste disposal.

Officials from Enercon and DOSECC did not attend the meeting. The James family, who are open to the project idea and have agreed to let their land be a potential site for the project, also did not attend.


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