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Over the last few years, our office has dealt with a similar issue involving Yucca Mountain. In that case the federal government, under an agreement with the states, collected billions of dollars for nuclear waste disposal and with the unilateral stroke of a pen the federal government effectively said, “You keep your nuclear waste and we will keep your money.”

In that case, this office brought a suit which resulted in a federal court of appeals ruling that the administration “flouted” the law. Today, the administration is flouting the law again in a similar fashion.

The MOX facility was created because Congress believed that there needed to be a safe and efficient way to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation through the disposition of surplus plutonium.

Congress passed a law and appropriated money for this purpose. The DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) entered into an agreement with the State of SC to construct and operate the MOX facility so as to prevent SC from becoming a nuclear waste dumping ground.

The President asked for money originally designated as construction money by Congress to now be used as “close-up” money for the MOX facility. This action effectively places the MOX facility in “cold standby” thus rendering it terminated.

Through the unilateral indefinite suspension of the MOX project without any plutonium disposal alternative — without any Congressional authorization or approval, — and without any legal authority, the federal government has failed to not only honor its commitment to SC but has breached its obligation to responsibly address the disposal of surplus plutonium.

Further, this violation of the Constitution not only effectively terminates the MOX facility but it terminates approximately 1800 jobs of SC’s hard working citizens. This is why I have filed a complaint today in federal court on behalf of the State of South Carolina seeking to halt this illegal and unconstitutional act. Our complaint asserts that that the administration’s misuse of federal funds violates the fundamental tenet of separation of powers and it explicitly violates a federal statute prohibiting executive agencies from expending funds for purposes unauthorized by Congress.

Finally, I would like to thank our federal and state delegation and our Governor for their rapid response as well as their support for our office on this issue.



(Editor’s Note: The above communication contains prepared remarks delivered by an elected official and does not necessarily reflect the editorial position of To submit your letter, news release, email blast, media advisory or issues statement for publication, click here).