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Sisolak asks Trump for meeting to discuss plutonium shipment

Updated February 28, 2019 - 7:24 pm

CARSON CITY — Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday asked President Donald Trump for a meeting to discuss the federal government’s undisclosed shipment of weapons-grade plutonium into Nevada — an issue that prompted the governor to boycott a recent series of events with the president.

Sisolak in his letter also asked to discuss the status of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

“I am committed to ensuring the safety of Nevada’s citizens and the protection of the state’s unique environment and economy from the extraordinary risks posed by Yucca Mountain,” Sisolak wrote. “On behalf of Nevada’s over 3 million residents, I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you these matters of critical importance to my state.”

In a statement, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere responded that Sisolak “has been invited to the White House three times since his election, and he has turned down all three invitations. The Trump administration looks forward to building a relationship with the governor and working on issues important to Nevadans.”

Nevada went to court last year to block the DOE’s planned shipment of a half-ton of plutonium from a South Carolina facility to the Nevada National Security Site. In January, the federal government disclosed in court it had made the shipment in November, keeping it secret for reasons of national security. The case is pending.

In his letter, the governor also fumed that his office was not notified of a planned Yucca Mountain visit Friday by Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The trip, organized by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on energy, was billed as a bipartisan tour that included Perry and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen of Nevada, both Democrats. It was postponed because of scheduling conflicts.

“The way the planned visit was handled, with no notice to my office from Secretary Perry or the DOE until after the visit was canceled, is like the way the shipment of plutonium was managed — in secret, without my office’s input, and with disclosure to me only after the fact,” Sisolak wrote.

In a statement with the letter, Sisolak’s office said that the governor has reached out to the DOE for a face-to-face meeting with the secretary when the congressional visit is rescheduled.

The governor, in Washington, D.C., last weekend for National Governors Association meetings, declined to attend events at the White House and at Vice President Mike Pence’s residence in protest over the plutonium shipment.

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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