Council fails to reach quorum; Meeting with Holtec canceled

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By John Earp

This past Monday at 5:30 p.m., the Jal City Council was scheduled to hold a meeting with Holtec International, a company which intends to develop a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel halfway between Hobbs and Carlsbad, 12 miles from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant facility. However, the only city councilors in attendance for the meeting were Mrs. Bekah Richard and Mr. Stacy Ward. A little after 6:00 p.m., Mayor Aldridge came in the room, saying that he and City Manager Matt White had been dealing with a broken water pipe on Merryman Ave. The mayor apologized, saying that the council did not have a quorum, and asked the representatives from Holtec if the meeting could be rescheduled at a later date. City Manager Matt White said that he believed the leak was of produced water (oilfield waste), due to the smell associated with the leak. However, the following morning, White said that it turned out that the leak was from what was supposed to be an abandoned city waterline, that the water that spilled from the old pipe was stagnant and smelled bad, but that it was not produced water after all. White said the leak was fixed about midnight Monday evening, and that the section of Merryman where they had been working would have to dry out before they could proceed with installing the new section of road.