weather icon Clear

Trump budget to include funds to restart Yucca Mountain process

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump again will propose funding to restart the licensing process to make Yucca Mountain a nuclear waste repository Monday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has learned.

The Trump budget, set for release Monday, will include $116 million in the Department of Energy budget to restart licensing for the Yucca Mountain project and fund a “robust interim storage program,” an administration official familiar with the budget told the newspaper. The first two Trump spending plans allotted $120 million to restart licensing for the repository.

The spending blueprint also will include $39 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to work on licensing the controversial project located 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Both the Trump budget and the Yucca items are likely to be treated as dead on arrival at Congress, where such spending outlines have been routinely rejected for decades.

In 2017 and 2018, the GOP Senate dropped Trump’s funding for Yucca Mountain, which was designated by Congress in 1987 as the sole site to permanently store nuclear waste.

Nevada politicians from both parties, however, have tended to oppose the facility.

The state’s two U.S. senators, Catherine Cortez-Masto and Jacky Rosen, both Democrats, oppose licensing the project, which was halted under President Barack Obama in a move widely seen as at the urging of then-Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, also then the Senate majority leader.

Former GOP Sen. Dean Heller, and former Gov. Brian Sandoval, both Republicans, also opposed Trump’s efforts to resume plans on the issue.

Trump’s position has been harder to define.

In October 2016, as he campaigned for the presidency, the GOP nominee told KSNV-TV that he did not have a position on Yucca Mountain, but he expected to take a stand before the November election. That did not happen.

But then in March 2017, the Office of Management and Budget slated $120 million for Yucca and interim storage.

Mick Mulvaney, then the OMB director and now White House chief of staff, later told the Review-Journal, he put Yucca Mountain in the budget because, “We have to put this stuff someplace.”

“I’m surprised it got that much attention as it did,” Mulvaney added. “It’s only to explore the possibility of licensing.”

Then in October as Trump was campaigning in Elko for Heller, who later lost his bid for re-election, he suggested he might oppose the nuclear waste project.

“I think you should do things where people want them to happen,” Trump told KRNV News 4. “So I would be very inclined to be against it and we will be looking at it seriously over the next few weeks. And I agree with the people of Nevada.”

Now funding for the nuclear waste repository will be back in Trump’s spending plan.

Application hearings must be held to hear challenges by Nevada and other stakeholders and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must determine whether Yucca Mountain is safe for long-term storage, and issue a license for Energy to build the repository.

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders 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)
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)