Bryan tapped for state nuclear commission | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Bryan tapped for state nuclear commission

When Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn thought about choosing a nuclear projects commissioner who could take the heat when standing up to the federal government, he quickly looked south to pluck former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan out of the private sector.

“Absolutely. His knowledge in this issue and the fact that’s he’s been through so much controversy with this made him the obvious choice,” Guinn’s spokesman Jack Finn said Tuesday.

Bryan is now a partner in one of the largest law firms in the state – Lionel, Sawyer and Collins based in Las Vegas.



He retired from public office in January after serving two terms in the United States Senate. Prior to that, he served two terms as both state assemblyman and state senator. He was also Nevada’s attorney general and formed the Office of the Consumer Advocate.

The U.S. Department of Energy has targeted Nevada as the nation’s repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain near Las Vegas, sparking a fury of dissent from state officials, business groups and public citizens.




Guinn has earmarked $5 million for an educational campaign to fight the proposed designation of the nuclear waste site.

Bryan has developed 18 years of contacts and experience on this subject.

“During the course of my career in public service, no issue was as crucial to the future of our state as the nuclear power industry’s targeting of Nevada,” he said. “I’m proud to be able to continue to help in any way I can.”

He’ll work alongside a familiar comrade – former state Attorney General Brian McKay as the commission chairman.

Last week’s appointment has already taken effect and runs through June 30, 2002.

“This has been an ongoing battle for Nevada since 1983,” Bryan said. “It’s very, very important to us.”

While on the commission, Bryan plans to develop strategies to fight the battle on the national level. His plan of attack includes urging Congress to maintain the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standards on handling nuclear waste as proposed by President Clinton.

These guidelines remain on hold with the Bush Administration.

“We’re very concerned about the Bush administration’s focus on nuclear power,” he said, referring to Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney’s proposed energy plan.

“In my judgment, aside from any environmental concerns, it’s vastly more expensive than natural gas,” he said.

The battle promises to be long, but Bryan pledged to remain steadfast in sparing the state from becoming a waste dump figured in tons.

“I began the fight 18 years ago,” he said. “I’m not going to give up now.”


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