Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 | 2:41 p.m.
WASHINGTON -- A last-minute attempt to keep the Yucca Mountain project alive suffered a blow today when the House approved a greatly reduced budget appropriation that excludes a provision to continue studying the site for a possible nuclear waste dump.
The final bill deletes language that had been inserted in an earlier version of the legislation that would have required the president’s commission studying alternatives to Yucca Mountain to keep the Nevada site in the mix.
The bill allows $197 million for Yucca Mountain for fiscal 2010, a severe cut from previous years as had been expected under President Barack Obama's proposed budget. The funds allow the project to continue its review before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this summer that Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget will zero out Yucca Mountain for good.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
“Nevadans have been fighting to bury Yucca Mountain for decades and this budget is a knife in the heart of this threat to our families and the Valley’s economy,” said Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley.
Democratic Rep. Dina Titus said the bill’s passage “represents a critical step in our fight to put an end to Yucca Mountain and ensure that Nevada does not become a nuclear waste dumping ground.”
The demise of the long-envisioned federal dump at Yucca Mountain, north of Las Vegas, comes as officials in White Pine County are looking into the possibility of developing a nuclear power plant in their area, according to the Ely Times.