weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Nevada tribes join opposition to plutonium shipments

Thirteen Nevada Indian tribes have joined the chorus of opposition to secret plutonium shipments to the state last year.

Tribal leaders sent letters to President Donald Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry objecting to the transfer of the radioactive material to the Nevada National Security Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The tribal chairmen said the government should have consulted with the tribes before trucking weapons-grade plutonium past their reservations and storing it within the ancestral homelands of the Western Shoshone people.

“As a Southern Nevada tribe, our reservations — one in downtown Las Vegas and another in the northwestern part of the Las Vegas Valley — are in direct proximity to the transportation routes that may have been utilized for this shipment to the Nevada National Security Site,” wrote Las Vegas Paiute Chairman Chris Spotted Eagle in a letter to Perry. “Were an incident to occur during such transport, our tribal citizens would be exposed to potentially harmful impacts.”

“By sending and storing a half ton of radioactive plutonium to the State of Nevada without consultation, the United States government failed in its duty to protect Indian tribal resources,” wrote Chairman Rupert Steele of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, which takes in parts of eastern Nevada and western Utah. “Furthermore, by taking such a reckless and careless action, the United States government completely ignored its legal and moral responsibilities under the United States Constitution to consult with Indian tribes on actions with Indian tribal implications.”

The administration also received letters from the chairmen of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, Walker River Paiute Tribe, Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Tribe, Elko Band Council, Ely Shoshone Tribe, Yerington Paiute Tribe, Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, Summit Lake Paiute Tribe and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

In August, the Energy Department notified Nevada officials of plans to ship half a metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium to the security site from South Carolina. The state filed for an injunction in November to block the shipment, but weeks after the case was argued in federal court, the Energy Department disclosed that it already had sent the plutonium into the state sometime before the court filing.

Gov. Steve Sisolak has requested a meeting with Trump to discuss the shipment and the administration’s plans for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site. The White House has yet to acknowledge or respond to Sisolak’s Feb. 27 request.

Several tribal leaders urged Trump and Perry to sit down with the governor to discuss the storage of radioactive material in Nevada.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Former Nevada Sen. John Ensign divorces wife

Former Sen. John Ensign, whose political career began to unravel in 2009 after an affair with a top aide’s wife came to light, has divorced his wife of 31 years, Darlene.

Iran says 17 nationals allegedly recruited by CIA arrested

The official said the 17 were recruited by the CIA and had “sophisticated training” but did not succeed in their sabotage missions.

NYC mayor calls for probe as Con Edison cut power to 30K in heat

Mayor Bill de Blasio called for an investigation Monday of power outages that came at the end of this weekend’s oppressive heat, saying he no longer trusts utility Con Edison after it decided to turn off power to thousands of customers.