News From
Richard Bryan
U.S. Senator  •  Nevada
DATE:   February 10, 1999
CONTACT:  Dave Lemmon

Bryan Warns House Committee of Serious Health Hazards

Nevada's delegation united in effort warning Congress of the serious problems associated with "temporary" storage & Yucca Mountain


WASHINGTON -- U. S.Senator Richard Bryan (D-NV) submitted testimony this morning to the House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power bluntly warning committee members of the serious health and safety issues with locating a "temporary" or permanent nuclear waste storage facility in the state of Nevada. Due to a late change in the Senate's impeachment trial schedule which conflicted with the scheduled start of today's House hearing, Senator Bryan submitted his testimony for the record.

"In good conscience, we cannot allow Congress's callous disregard for the health and safety of every Nevadan to go unanswered -- for us it is literally a life or death issue," Senator Bryan stated. "Nevada's Congressional delegation, along with Governor Guinn, are united in our efforts to vigorously fight those in Congress who want to make Nevada a nuclear dumping ground. There is no more single important issue Nevadan's will face from Washington than the threat the nuclear power lobby and its allies in Congress pose to our state. From earthquakes in mounting new scientific evidence, it is becoming abundantly clear to even the most casual observer that Nevada should be rules out as a possible site for a nuclear waste storage facility," Bryan continued.

The House Commerce Committee's Energy and Power Subcommittee is holding its first hearing of the year on the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1999, introduced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). In addition, the new House Speaker, Representative Dennis Hastert (R-IL), who has long been a supporter of putting nuclear waste in Nevada, has said he will schedule an early vote on the bill. The legislation would create a so-called "temporary" nuclear waste storage facility at the Nevada Test Site.

In his testimony, Senator Bryan methodically pointed out many of the recent scientific discoveries and natural occurrences that have strengthened opponents arguments that Nevada is the wrong place to create a nuclear waste storage facility. With two strong quakes in the last few weeks, and more than 600 earthquakes greater the 3.0 on the Richter scale since the mid 1970's, there is abundant evidence that Yucca Mountain is an unsuitable location to create a long-term storage facility.

In addition, Senator Bryan drew particular attention to the woefully inadequate health and safety standards that would be permitted by the federal government in this legislation. The chance of a Nevadans risk of exposure to toxins and pollutants in the environment would obviously be dramatically increased with the presence of a nuclear waste storage facility located so close to a major population center such as Las Vegas. However, under the provisions of this bill, if it were to become law, would allow the federal government to blatantly ignore current health standards that every other American is protected by. In fact, the EPA would be permitted to allow Nevadan's to be exposed to pollutants and toxins at a standard 25 times greater than what is currently permitted in the Safe Drinking Water Act.

"What most Americans, and many of their representatives in Congress, don't understand is that the nuclear power lobby is attempting to get a multi-billion dollar bailout from their friends in Congress at the expense of the American taxpayer and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans personal health and safety. Nevadans have been the unwilling victims of a nearly twenty year political campaign orchestrated by the nuclear power industry to create a nuclear waste storage site in the state of Nevada. Their methods and plans may have changed over the years -- but their goal has always been the same -- to get a multi-billion dollar bailout at the expense of Nevadans health and safety," Senator Bryan stated.