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Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Land Withdrawal Act of 1991 - Withdraws from all forms of entry, sale, and disposal under the public land laws and from all forms of appropriation and operation under mining and mineral leasing laws the public lands in Eddy County, New Mexico, which surround the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) (a Department of Energy (DOE) research and development facility authorized to demonstrate the safe disposal of defense radioactive waste).
Describes the lands to be withdrawn.
Revokes specified public land orders made inconsistent by this Act. Makes the Secretary of Energy responsible for management of the withdrawn lands.
Requires the Secretary to develop a management plan for the withdrawn lands requiring any use of such lands for activities not associated with WIPP to be subject to conditions and restrictions that may be necessary to permit the conduct of WIPP activities.
Requires the management plan to permit domestic livestock grazing, hunting and trapping, maintenance of wildlife habitat, the disposal of salt tailings remaining on the surface, and mining.
Directs the Secretary to submit the management plan to appropriate congressional committees and the State of New Mexico. Authorizes the Secretary to close to the public any part of such withdrawn lands if required for public health and safety.
Authorizes the Secretary to implement a transuranic waste experimental program at the WIPP according to prescribed guidelines.
Directs the Secretary to submit the experimental program proposal to:
(1) the State of New Mexico;
(2) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
(3) the National Academy of Sciences; and
(4) the WIPP Environmental Evaluation Group (EEG). Provides for conflict resolution if the State of New Mexico disagrees with the Secretary's final experimental program plan.
Sets forth review and modification procedures.
Prohibits transuranic waste from being received for operational demonstration of the WIPP before:
(1) the Secretary's determination of compliance with disposal regulations; and
(2) the EPA Administrator's certification to the Congress that the Secretary has complied with them.
(1) the EPA compliance scheme;
(2) specified restrictions upon transuranic waste;
(3) retrievability requirements regarding transuranic waste emplaced in the WIPP; and
(4) transportation and containerization requirements (including training for accident prevention and emergency preparedness).
Directs the Mine Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor to inspect the mine at the WIPP as frequently as other mine sites under its purview, and to report its findings to the Secretary for prompt correction of any deficiencies.
Directs the Bureau of Mines to prepare an annual evaluation of mine safety at the WIPP. Sets forth an economic assistance payment scheme to be made by the Secretary to the State of New Mexico and certain local governmental units for operation and decommissioning expenses.
Authorizes payments in lieu of taxes to such governmental entities.
Requires the Secretary to report annually to the State of New Mexico regarding the promotion of WIPP-related business and employment opportunities, with particular attention given to Lea and Eddy counties.
Directs the Secretary to make annual payments to the State of New Mexico for the purpose of establishing and maintaining an Impact Assessment Group within the Waste Management Education and Research Consortium to prepare annual reports on the economic impact of WIPP activities.
Directs the Secretary to:
(1) submit to certain congressional committees a preliminary plan for active and passive institutional controls for managing the WIPP after decommissioning; and
(2) publish in the Federal Register a preliminary management plan for the WIPP after decommissioning.
Authorizes appropriations to provide compensation for the cancellation of specified oil and gas leases.
Authorizes appropriations for this Act generally.
Mandates that transuranic waste introduced at the WIPP site prior to enactment of this Act be promptly removed if:
(1) it is not being used to implement the experimental program; or
(2) it does not comply with specified statutory restrictions.
Subjects such waste to the retrievability requirements of this Act.
House Democratic Caucus Summary
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