Toxic transport

Plans to transport mercury supplies from New Jersey and three other states to Nevada for storage is meeting opposition not just from Gov. Guinn but from an environmental group in New Jersey itself.

Edison Wetlands Association director Robert Spiegel asked, “Is it fair to bring New Jersey’s problem into Nevada and dump it into Nevada’s lap if the state doesn’t want it?”

He told the Hillsborough Beacon that during an inspection of the Defense Logistics Agency Depot on Route 206, where the mercury is presently stored, his organization found beads of mercury outside the supposedly safe containers. Depot officials couldn’t give him information on the long-term stability of the containers.

“That raised red flags to me,” Spiegel said. “We’re talking about transporting something that’s highly toxic to wildlife and people.”

New Jersey officials, discussing the storage of mercury in their area, frequently sound like Nevada officials talking about their concerns about how the proposed Yucca Mountain dump for high level nuclear wastes would create a stigma for the state as a waste dump and retard tourism.

“Hillsborough is a great place to live,” Mayor Carl Suraci said. “Now that the stigma of being the home for 60 percent of the nation’s mercury stores will be eliminated, our community will be an even better place to live.”

“Perception is everything when you’re trying to entice new businesses to come,” said Fort Wayne, Ind., city official Bernie Beier. His city also has a stock of mercury that will be transported to Nevada.

And federal officials talking about the transportation of the mercury sound just as sunny and positive as those who discuss Yucca Mountain.

“We don’t foresee any problems as far as leaking,” said Defense National Stockpile Center spokesperson Robert Jones.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported of Jones, “He also said Nevada residents didn’t vocally oppose housing the site, while New Haven officials and residents constantly argued to have the mercury moved.”