After losing its battle to punish North Carolina for not moving quickly enough to site a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility, Gov. David Beasley (R) of South Carolina has threatened to pull out of the Southeast Compact.
In April, Beasley had asked the Southeast Compact Commission for permission to reopen the Barnwell disposal facility to generators in every state except North Carolina. (Barnwell closed to non-Southeast Compact waste on June 30, 1994, and is scheduled to close for good at the end of 1995.) By reopening Barnwell, Beasley said, he had hoped to raise additional revenue for the state while at the same time spurring North Carolina to site the Southeast Compact's new disposal facility. Several commissioners said that while they did not oppose Beasley's request to reopen Barnwell, they could not vote to exclude North Carolina.
The South Carolina legislature has ultimate control over Barnwell, but observers said the commission's vote will make it more difficult for Beasley to get the lawmakers' approval to reopen the facility.
In a written statement, Beasley said that if South Carolina withdraws from the Southeast Compact, it will either "form a self-sustaining compact or find other partners who are committed to a true compact. South Carolina will no longer be held hostage by the irresponsible members of this current, phantom compact." t
Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.
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