Chronicle Journal: Finance

WCS Launches Outreach Campaign in Support of Draft Low-Level Radioactive Waste License

DALLAS, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Waste Control Specialists LLC ("WCS") today announced it has launched a fall media campaign to inform the public about the need for a low-level radioactive waste ("LLRW") disposal facility in the state of Texas.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080923/LATU035LOGO)

"Our latest outreach efforts continue WCS' commitment to keep the public fully informed about the LLRW disposal license we are seeking for our Andrews County facility and the urgent need to safely dispose of radioactive waste produced by universities, hospitals and power plants," said Rodney A. Baltzer, President of WCS.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ("TCEQ") granted WCS a draft LLRW disposal license on Aug. 13 and is considering the issuance of a final license.

"A final license will permit Texas to fulfill its obligation under the Texas-Vermont Compact to dispose of contaminated clothing, tools, paper, parts and other material from power plants. Just as important, however, is the need to safely dispose of medical waste being produced daily by hundreds of Texas research and health care facilities, waste that is now in temporary storage in our heavily populated urban centers. Storage of this waste in densely populated areas is not sound public policy," Baltzer said.

The WCS campaign kicked off with television advertising in the Permian Basin and will continue in other markets. The outreach features interviews with medical, energy and radiation safety officers, including:

    -- Nobel Prize winner Dr. Alfred G. Gilman, dean of the University of
       Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas;
    -- Public Utility Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman;
    -- Dr. Robert J. Emery, assistant vice president of the University of
       Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

None of these individuals were asked to endorse the WCS facility; only to explain why there is a need for a LLRW disposal site in Texas. The commercials were filmed on location at Texas health care facilities using actors to portray patients going through the medical treatments described by the experts.

WCS also has updated its web site with this new information to make the outreach campaign statewide in scope. Additional information and videos featuring multiple, in-depth explanations of WCS' proposed West Texas disposal facility, its operation, geology, and community support, as well as the need for a LLRW disposal site, are all available on the web site.

In addition to the TV commercials, the WCS web site includes presentations by WCS Vice President Linda Beach, general manager of the Andrews facility; University of Mississippi hydrogeologist Robert Holt, retained by WCS to study the geology at the site; and Russell Shannon, director, Andrews Industrial Foundation.

Spanish language videos also are posted on the web site.

"The videos and other information on our web site are important information in the public discussion about our facility, our license application and the source and type of waste that will be disposed of at our proposed facility. Out of respect for the TCEQ process, we chose to wait until after the public comment period on the draft LLRW license had ended before beginning our new advertising campaign," said Baltzer.

More than 400 people attended a TCEQ public meeting on the LLRW draft license Sept. 8 in Andrews and voiced overwhelming support for WCS. Earlier this year, WCS received a license from TCEQ for the disposal of byproduct material from generators across the United States.

The advertising campaign, informational videos and additional information about the low-level license application may be found at WCS' web site: http://www.wcstexas.com.

The WCS facility in Andrews County, Texas is currently licensed for the processing, storage and disposal of a broad range of hazardous, toxic, byproduct and certain types of low level and mixed low level radioactive waste. WCS is a subsidiary of Valhi, Inc. (NYSE: VHI). Valhi is engaged in the titanium dioxide pigments, component products (security products, furniture components and performance marine components) and waste management industries.

SOURCE Waste Control Specialists LLC

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