The WIPP Land Withdrawal Act Allows "...non-WIPP Related Uses of the Withdrawal as the Secretary Determines to be Appropriate"

DOE manages 42 Sq. Kilometers (16- Sq. Mi.) of both surface and subsurface property at WIPP

Congress specifically acknowledged the potential use of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Area (WLWA) for other purposes besides waste isolation.  Section 4(b)(3) of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act (Public Law 102-579) allows "such non-WIPP related uses of the Withdrawal as the Secretary determines to be appropriate."  In keeping with this congressional directive, the DOE seeks to make maximum use of existing WIPP facilities to further the scientific missions assigned to the Department by Congress to the extent it can do so without impacting the primary mission of the WIPP: the disposal of defense TRU waste.  This responsible and multiple use of the WIPP facility benefits the public by providing an additional return on the existing investment in the WIPP facility.

The WLWA encompasses 16 sections or 10,240 acres of federal land in Township 22 South, Range 31 East. The area containing most of the WIPP surface structures (Property Protection Area) covers only about 35 acres and is enclosed with a chain link fence. Surrounding this inner area is the Exclusive Use Area, marked by a barbed-wire fence.  Encompassing these areas is the Off-Limits Area, which is not fenced, to allow livestock grazing but, like the other two, is patrolled and posted against trespass or other land uses.  Beyond the "Off-Limits Area," but within the 16-section WIPP site, the land is managed under the public land use concept of multiple use.

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