Guinn to testify against nuke waste in Washington; lawmakers send resolutions backing him
Gov. Kenny Guinn is headed to Washington D.C. to testify against plans to store nuclear waste in Nevada, and state lawmakers have passed an emergency resolution to back him.
Guinn will speak Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act it is considering. He will be reaffirming Nevada’s stance against storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.
The state Legislature passed a resolution Monday opposing the federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The Senate passed the resolution by a vote of 19-1-1, with Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen, R-Minden, opposed. Sen. Joe Neal, D- Las Vegas, did not vote despite delivering a rambling discourse on the matter.
The Assembly passed the resolution 41-0. Assemblyman John Marvel, R-Battle Mountain, did not vote because he is ill with pneumonia and was absent.
The resolution was delayed when the Assembly insisted on an amendment adding all of the members’ names to it instead of the 33 that were originally included, but a special Senate meeting ensured the resolution got to Guinn in time to make the trip to Washington.
Sen. Mark James, R-Las Vegas, who introduced the resolution in the senate, said the federal nuclear waste policy would remove the guidelines for choosing waste storage sites, clearing the way for the federal government to send waste to Yucca Mountain.
“They’re going to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can site the stuff here eventually. That’s not fair,” said James.
He urged lawmakers to fight proponents of the storage plan, citing the potential dangers of hauling waste through 43 states to Nevada and studies that have shown seismic activity around Yucca Mountain and the possibility of contamination of ground water in the region.
“If we can take on the tobacco industry and Congress and the individual members of Congress can stand up to that industry, why can’t we take on the nuclear power industry?” asked James. “Think of those who you represent instead of marching to the nuclear power industry’s drum.”
“I hope Congress is listening to this one,” added Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas. She said Nevada leaders must remain “no less vehement, no less persistent and no less unified” in opposing the waste plans.
Jacobsen, the only legislator to oppose the resolution, said nuclear waste storage is a reality Nevada must accept.
“It’s an international problem. It’s worldwide,” he said. “I think it’s a responsibility we have to accept whether we like it or not.”
Nevada’s congressional delegation is also opposing the federal act and will join Guinn in testifying against it. Congressional representatives praised the legislators for the resolution and said they’re working to meet with key lawmakers to discuss the issue.
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