Las Vegas Sun

February 21, 2019

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Yucca foe fought till his death — and beyond

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Even in death, Joe Egan plans to keep fighting Yucca Mountain.

The attorney whose small law firm has led the state’s legal campaign against the proposed nuclear waste repository died last week of stomach cancer. He was 53.

But now we discover Egan isn’t quite done.

In the obituary he wrote for his law firm’s Web site, Egan said he had arranged to have his ashes scattered at Yucca Mountain, with the eulogy: “Radwaste buried here only over my dead body.”

“Radwaste” is nuclear-speak for radioactive waste, the stuff Egan had been keeping out of Nevada since he was hired by then-Gov. Kenny Guinn to represent the state in 2001. The New York Times first wrote about Egan’s wishes, on Monday.

Robert Loux, the state’s point man on Yucca, confirmed the family’s intentions. Loux spent time with the attorney at his Florida home a few weeks ago.

“They all want to do this,” he said. But, he added, “I’m sure the Department of Energy is going to object.”

The Energy Department controls access to Yucca Mountain. The only way in is through the Nevada Test Site, a highly guarded facility. The airspace overhead is restricted.

Energy Department spokesman Allen Benson declined to comment Monday.

But some of Nevada’s lawmakers are weighing in on Egan’s side.

Republican Rep. Jon Porter’s spokesman said: “The congressman respects the will of Mr. Egan and is grateful for his life of service.”

A spokesman said Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley “supports allowing the Egan family to access these federal lands so that Joe’s request can be honored along with his memory.”

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