House passes threat-data sharing bill with route-review amendment

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY)
U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) | Courtesy of the House of Representatives
The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Intelligence and Information Sharing Act (HR 2200) was passed by the U.S. House on Wednesday with an amendment added by U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) that would require a federal security review of a New York route chosen for transporting liquid nuclear waste.

The Higgins amendment came about after the congressman's request to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to review the plan to ship liquid nuclear waste across Peace Bridge in western New York. Despite the dated criteria used to select the route, the DOE determined that an Environmental Impact Statement was not necessary.

“The route was approved nearly 20 years ago, and it reflects a pre-9/11 mindset with respect to the threat and consequences of terrorism,” Higgins said. “This legislation, as amended, would ensure that the Department of Energy has the information it needs to reconsider the wisdom of transporting dangerous nuclear material through high-risk areas like Buffalo.”

The Higgins amendment stipulates that the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis must examine risks associated with the transport of radioactive liquid uranium across the Peace Bridge and other locations. The amendment also stipulates that data from this evaluation be shared with policy makers and the communities surrounding the transport route.

The DOE plans to transport liquid nuclear waste along this route next year.

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