weather icon Clear

Nevada lawmakers appear to block funding for Yucca Mountain

Updated December 20, 2018 - 7:20 pm

WASHINGTON — Nevada lawmakers appeared to block a “Hail Mary” pass by Yucca Mountain plan supporters who tried to slip funding into a stopgap spending bill, although the final form of the legislation remained in disarray late Thursday.

The spending bill was caught up in swirling political undertows as conservative House Republicans and President Donald Trump rejected a stopgap Senate bill that did not include $5 billion for a border wall or “steel slat” barrier with Mexico.

As Republicans grappled with final versions of the government-funding legislation, Nevada lawmakers were hopeful they had stopped efforts to revive licensing for a Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

“It’s not in there,” said Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., who had urged House leaders to ignore eleventh-hour requests for Yucca Mountain funding.

Still, Titus cautioned that a last-minute attempt by conservative GOP members to rewrite another spending bill could become a vehicle for funding projects and programs other than border security.

Earlier this year, Trump signed into law a bill to fund the Department of Energy. Senate negotiators had stripped funds to revive Yucca Mountain licensing from that bill.

Nuclear energy industry officials argued that losing the funding would set back the licensing process for another year and urged Congress to slip money into the final spending bill to revive hearings on DOE’s application to construct the nuclear waste repository.

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on environment, urged the Rules Committee to allow a provision in the final spending bill, an aide said.

The earlier Senate spending bill, opposed by Trump because it lacked money for wall construction, did not include money for Yucca Mountain.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a proponent of the Yucca Mountain plan, met with senators and laid out a scenario under which unused energy project funds could be reprogrammed for Yucca Mountain licensing, but Senate Democrats shunned that offer, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican; Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen, both Democrats; and Titus urged Senate and House leaders against adding funds for Yucca Mountain in the waning days of a lame-duck Congress. Democrats are set to take control of the House in January.

Titus said that “at some point proponents will recognize that Nevada will never support this folly and work with us to advance consent-based siting for nuclear repositories.”

Bob Halstead, executive director for the governor’s Agency for Nuclear Projects, said Nevada was “looking forward to working with the new Congress” on legislation to remake a nuclear waste program based in part on consent-based siting and interim storage with transportation and security measures.

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)