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Senate panel OKs spending bill without funds for restarting Yucca

WASHINGTON — A Senate subcommittee approved a spending bill Tuesday that does not include the Trump administration’s request for $120 million to restart the nuclear licensing at Yucca Mountain in Nevada or explore temporary storage of a stockpile of waste.

The action by the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development sets up a full committee vote on Thursday.

A House panel earlier included the $120 million in its version of the legislation. Any differences in the spending bills must be reconciled by a House-Senate conference committee.

Nevada lawmakers called it a positive first step in the fight to stop congressional and administration efforts to revive the nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain, located about 90 miles north of Las Vegas.

Nevada will not serve as the nation’s nuclear waste dump,” Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said in a statement.

The Department of Energy and Secretary Rick Perry have proposed restarting the licensing process on Yucca Mountain, which was designated as a permanent storage location by Congress in 1987.

Licensing of the facility, before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was stopped under President Barack Obama.

President Donald Trump proposed restarting the licensing process in his budget blueprint for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, both Republicans, along with Democrats in the congressional delegation, have vowed to fight the federal government on the proposed project.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., and officials in Nye County, where the repository would be located, have urged the licensing process to continue to determine if the site is safe for nuclear waste storage.

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said the House should avoid funding such “a dangerous and misguided project.”

She said Perry and the Trump administration “refuse to recognize our state’s opposition to this unworkable project.”

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or at 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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