News From U.S. Representative
For Immediate Release
WHITE HOUSE RENEWS PUSH FOR FIX "YUCCA" BILL
Bush Administration Seeks Reintroduction of Anti-Nevada Nuke Waste Legislation
(March 6, 2007 -- Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) today swiftly denounced renewed efforts by the Bush Administration to gain Congressional approval for legislation designed to speed the opening of Yucca Mountain and to allow even larger amounts of nuclear waste to be dumped in Nevada.
"The Bush administration has renewed its attack on Nevada and their goal is simple: open Yucca Mountain at any cost. This proposal isn't about safety or science, it's about using political muscle to change the rules of the game in order to ensure that nuclear waste comes to Nevada," said Berkley.
"This is clearly a last ditch effort to try and bring this project back from the brink of total collapse, but make no mistake, Yucca Mountain's days are numbered. Like the project it is designed to resurrect, this bill is dead in the water. Working with my colleagues in the House and with Majority Leader Reid in the Senate, we will ensure this bill never sees the President's desk," said Berkley.
"In a nutshell, this legislation guts key safety and environmental rules, makes it harder for Nevadans to challenge Yucca Mountain, gives the green light to a water grab and increases the amount of deadly nuclear waste that can be buried 90 minutes outside Las Vegas," said Berkley. "Yucca Mountain has not been proven safe and there will be no way to keep thousands of shipments of nuclear waste secure as they travel across our roads and railways, and this legislative package ignores both these realities."
Among the changes included in the White House bill is a provision that seeks to eliminate the current restriction on the amount of waste that can be stored inside Yucca Mountain. Lifting this cap would enable more nuclear waste to be dumped in Nevada and would increase the number of waste shipments that would have to travel along America's roads and railways. Berkley is also concerned that it would pave the way for White House plans to allow nuclear waste from other nations to be shipped to Nevada for burial at Yucca Mountain, as part of the President's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program.
"Right now there is a limit on the amount of waste that can be stored at Yucca Mountain, but if President Bush is successful, Nevada will become the world's nuclear garbage dump," said Berkley.
Another provision in the bill would make it easier for Congress to spend billions on dumping nuclear waste in Nevada, with little or no oversight to protect taxpayers.
"Billions of dollars have already been wasted on a hole in the Nevada desert and Yucca Mountain is no closer to opening today, than it was 20 years ago. Funding for this disaster waiting to happen does not deserve special treatment and Yucca Mountain should have to compete with our nation's need to fund homeland security, education, clean energy, healthcare, Social Security and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Berkley, regarding provisions included in President Bush's bill that would give Yucca Mountain special budget treatment.
# # #