Five Western governors met with senior Bush administration officials Monday to argue they should have a greater role in dealing with the hazardous-waste cleanup of federal facilities.
South Dakota Gov. George Mickelson said that while no agreements were reached, progress was made on getting the federal officials to acknowledge the states' interest in the waste issue."That's a major step," said Mickelson, who is chairman of the 16-member Western Governors Association.
Mickelson and the governors of Utah, New Mexico, Idaho and North Dakota met with Energy Secretary James Watkins, EPA Administrator William Reilly and Roger Porter, the president's domestic policy adviser, at the White House.
Mickelson said the administration officials "are beginning to understand that they need the involvement of the governors" and that "the federal government is going to have to deal with us as a region," on the issue of hazardous wastes.
Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus, who has been in a long-standing battle with the Energy Department over the shipment of radioactive wastes into Idaho for storage, said that while that specific subject was not discussed, "We made progress today."
The other governors who attended were Utah Gov. Norm Bangerter, New Mexico Gov. Bruce King and North Dakota Gov. George Sinner.