WASHINGTON — The federal government refused today to confer special status on New York City that would have allowed it to ban the shipment of spent nuclear fuel on its congested roads.
The Transportation Department's Research and Special Programs Administration declined to grant New York an exemption to rules governing transportation of hazardous waste, which is done primarily on interstate highways.
New York had argued that because the highways run through densely populated areas of Queens and the Bronx, an accident with hazardous fuel shipments could have severe repercussions.
Policy for Future Cases
In rejecting the argument, the agency said it was intending to define a policy that will apply to future cases in which cities seek similar exemptions. It suggested that the problems be worked out on the state level before involving the federal government.
The ruling also underscored a dispute with Connecticut, which had fought the city's proposal that the spent fuel from Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island bypass New York by being barged across Long Island Sound to either New London or Bridgeport, Conn.
"We're obviously delighted. It's always a pleasure to beat the Big Apple," said Joseph I. Liberman, Connecticut's attorney general, after learning of the decision.