EPA chief visits SRS, talks jobs, nuclear waste

News 12 at 6 O'Clock, April 19, 2010

SAVANNAH RIVER SITE -- Environmental Protection Agency Chief Lisa Jackson addresses 15 graduates of a recent job training program.

The training in advanced math and calculus, among other subjects, added up to a job for Tony Hallingquest. He's one of those graduates now working at Savannah River Site. Those jobs are funded by more than $1 billion in stimulus funds.

"We took a little bit of the money and put it on the side and graduated a class of young people from the community around here who are now qualified to now do this cleanup work," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. "They're going to have jobs for life, because there's lots of work to do in hazardous waste cleanup."

"I never really thought too much about environmental protection," said Hallingquest. "I've learned a whole lot about the environment and different things that are going on."

Tony grew up in Barnwell and is part of the EPA's effort to train and hire people who live in communities affected by hazardous waste.

Congressman James Clyburn joined Jackson today. His name is also on a March letter to Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu. That letter asks Chu to reconsider Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for a nuclear waste repository. Some of that waste is being housed at SRS.

But today Clyburn seemed resigned that the battle over nuclear waste disposal isn't over and that more changes could be coming.

"This is a position that is developing as a result of an election," he said. There will be many more elections going forward, many more modifications going forward."

Jackson forwarded questions on Yucca Mountain to Secretary Chu, saying she has no idea what he'll do.


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