A former Idaho governor sued the US Department of Energy on Tuesday seeking information he said the agency was concealing about a proposal to ship nuclear waste into the state in violation of a 20-year-old federal agreement.
The case puts Cecil Andrus, a Democrat who served four terms as governor, at odds with Idaho’s current Republican leaders, including Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, over a plan to transport spent fuel from out-of-state commercial nuclear reactors to the Idaho National Laboratory.
Andrus said he suspected the agency’s intent was ultimately to turn the sprawling nuclear research facility along the Snake River near Idaho falls into a de facto nuclear dump in the absence of a permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste elsewhere in the United States.
In his complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Boise, Andrus accused the Energy Department of thwarting the public interest by withholding vital details about its proposal.
According to the lawsuit, the agency responded to his Freedom of Information Act query with reams of mostly redacted documents and newspaper clips about its request for a state waiver allowing delivery of spent reactor fuel to the Idaho lab.
The lawsuit seeks a court order compelling the Energy Department to furnish records that are not redacted.
Agency officials were not immediately available for comment on the litigation.