WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to clarify the agencies’ respective jurisdiction over in situ uranium recovery (ISR) activities. In a 2017 letter, Barrasso called on EPA and NRC to enter into a MOU. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the MOU in Wyoming with Governor Mark Gordon present. ISR is the primary method to produce uranium in the United States. The agreement will ensure the predictable and safe regulation of ISR facilities.
“This agreement is a major win for uranium production in Wyoming,” said Barrasso. “The Trump administration is limiting unnecessary regulations and making it easier for American companies to do business. Nuclear power is clean and reliable. It provides carbon free energy and creates good paying jobs. This agreement will help preserve Wyoming’s uranium industry. Wyoming leads the United States in uranium production. I want to thank the leadership of the EPA and the NRC for answering my call to enter into this important agreement.
In the 2017 letter to the EPA administrator, Barrasso wrote: “While Commissioner Ostendorff noted that the NRC has the authority to deviate from EPA’s regulations on a site-specific basis should EPA exceed its authority under [the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act], he stated that this approach could easily lead to continuing conflict between the agencies and court challenges to NRC’s actions. In order to end such conflict, I ask that, in addition to withdrawing EPA’s rule, you sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commission clarifying EPA’s authority to set generally applicable standards and NRC’s authority to implement the standards.”
As chairman, Barrasso has fought to preserve uranium production in Wyoming, helped enact bipartisan nuclear innovation legislation, and worked to have the Trump administration withdraw punishing regulations for uranium producers.