Kevin Kamps, a Nuclear Waste Specialist for the Washington, D. C. based Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and Naomi Butorac of the Citizen Action Coalition of Indiana were each sentenced August 1 to seven days in jail and a $300 fine after being found guilty by a six-person jury of criminal trespass in Berrien County, Michigan. The peaceful civil disobedience protest took place during a Chernobyl Day rally outside of American Electric Power's Cook nuclear power complex. American Electric Power is one of eight nuclear utilities that have joined forces to create a Wisconsin-based limited liability corporation called Private Fuel Storage (PFS.)
PFS is attempting to place an above-ground dump for high-level nuclear waste on the reservation of the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians, 45 miles west of Salt Lake City. PFS would store as much as 44,000 tons of irradiated fuel in 4,000 dry cask storage containers at the Goshute site. The dumpsite is opposed by traditionalist leaders among the Skull Valley Goshutes, the State of Utah, and environmentalists. An Environmental Justice contention has been filed by tribal member Margene Bullcreek and her organization Ohngo Gaudadeh Devia Awareness (OGDA, Goshute for "Mountain Community") before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety Licensing Board. Tribal member Sammy Blackbear and the State of Utah also are suing to prevent the site from opening.
Unlike the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada high-level waste dump, which has received more than a decade of scientific investigation and will undergo a lengthy licensing process if it even is considered suitable by the Department of Energy, the PFS site is receiving a "fast track" licensing process intended for temporary, at-reactor waste storage.
The process ignores the impact of the transportation of thousands of irradiated fuel shipments across the country, as well as the likelihood that the site would become a defacto permanent waste dump. The Skull Valley Goshutes are one of the smallest and poorest Native American groups in the country. The contract between PFS and tribal leader Leon Bear has been undisclosed to the public, including tribal members—many of whom publicly oppose the project.
OGDA Leader, Margene Bullcreek was quoted in a July 26, 2001 press conference in Washington D.C. saying "PFS is a large corporation targeting our small, traditional Native American Reservation for this dangerous project and taking advantage of our sovereignty. It's not our responsibility, as traditionalists, to sacrifice our land for the problem of nuclear waste that U. S. companies have created."
Kamps and Butorac were also protesting the danger the Cook reactors pose to the surrounding region. They crossed a line of yellow tape in an attempt to deliver documents to Cook plant officials but were arrested before they could do so. The documents included an executive order on environmental justice issued by former President Bill Clinton.
Kamps told the court, "We were willing to go to jail, if necessary, to protest nuclear accidents and to protest the dumping of nuclear waste on Native American lands in the west"