A federal judge in New York yesterday put a 10-day hold on some precedent-setting nuclear waste transport regulations that would override state and local laws beginning next Monday.
The Department of Transportation rules would send trucks carrying nuclear waste along interstate highways, preempting most local preferences for any alternate routes. The judge ordered the rules for "large shipments" held up until Feb. 11, allowing the regulations to go into effect for small bundles.
DOT officials said the rules are intended as models for future regulations on the transport of other hazardous materials such as liquefied natural gas, propane and toxic chemicals.
Nuclear-owning electric utilities, truckers and the chemical industry support the regulations as protecting them from being subjected to hundreds of different state and local laws.
The State of New York filed suit last year, arguing that the procedure for alternative route selection by localities was too burdensome to be workable and that the DOT had overreached its authority. The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1974 provides some say for state and local authorities in the routing, New York attorneys argued. The State of Ohio has filed a similar case.
The judge said his temporary restraining order "poses no significant danger or inconvenience to any party."