Miranda Alam/Special to Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Nevada 3rd Congressional District Rep. Jacky Rosen looks at the controversy over a proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain through the eyes of a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.
The transportation and storage of nuclear waste at the site — less than 100 miles from Las Vegas — would pose a threat to national security because of the U.S. military bases that surround the area, Rosen said Thursday on Nevada Newsmakers.
“We have Nellis Air Force Base, the premier pilot-training (facility) throughout the world. We have the Nevada Test and Training Range where we do all that training — 70 percent of the Air Force’s live munitions lives there,” Rosen said.
“We have Creech Air Force Base, where we have our unmanned aerial system,” she said. “We train those Topgun naval aviators in Fallon. We have a Hawthorne Army Depot, a Nevada Test Site and Area 51.”
“Yucca Mountain sits right in the center of all that,” Rosen said. “Nevada is critical to our national security, our homeland security and safety. And anything that could compromise that, moving nuclear waste through the Nevada Test and Training Range or any of those other routes, could put us at risk.”
Storage of nuclear waste near U.S. military installations is only one problem with Yucca, Rosen said. Another is moving it there through wide swaths of the United States.
“There are 75,000 metric tons of nuclear waste. At three loads a week via trains or trucks on our freeways, going through over 44 states and 300 counties, it will take 50 years to transport it,” Rosen said. “So don’t tell me that within that 50 years, there is not going to be some kind of accident.”
Rosen on breaking gridlock in Washington
Rosen, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Dean Heller, is a founding member of theProblem Solvers Caucus in the House.
“We’ve come up with a blueprint called ‘Break the Gridlock,’ and we hope the next speaker of the House would allow Congress to move forward in certain ways that maybe every member of Congress, regardless of party, would have the opportunity to bring a bill to the floor. And a bill, if it had a particular threshold of cosponsors — Republican and Democrat — that it would come to the floor for a vote. It would allow the people’s business to get done.”
The Problem Solvers also want to reduce the practice of adding controversial proposals to common-sense bills that both parties favor.
“We ask often times for clean legislation,” Rosen said. “What does that mean? It means that America has pot holes all across this country. People want their potholes fixed. Don’t put something controversial in with the potholes. Let that stand alone. Let us get some of the business, that we all agree on, done, moving forward.”
Rosen on immigration and education
Rosen said Nevada needs to train its own citizens for good jobs that are available. But she supports immigration laws that allow workers to come into the U.S. on temporary work visas.
“I do think it is really important that we bring in the kinds of workers that we need to fill these jobs,” she said.
“We are booming,” she said, noting a need for construction workers.
“We have a shortage in tech jobs,” Rosen said. “We need to bring those people in, too. And I can tell you in the medical field, we need to bring in people for that because as our population ages, we know we’ll need more medical care and good access to that because, honestly, people’s lives are on the line.”
At the same time, Nevada must improve its educational system to prepare students “with the right kind of education and critical-thinking skills to take on the jobs and the challenges for the future.”
“So I think it is twofold,” Rosen said. “We need to train and grow from within, by creating a good people pipeline with those education skills. And then we need to supplement that with people coming into our country to help us in all ranges.”
Rosen on a possible government shutdown
President Trump has said Congress must pass a budget bill for the federal government because he will not sign any more omnibus bills to temporarily keep the government running. Trump is also pushing for funding for his wall on the Mexican border.
“I hope we can avoid it (a shutdown) but I can tell you, the Republicans control that — the presidency, the Senate and the House. The ball is in their court,” Rosen said. “I hope cooler heads prevail because people’s salaries are on the line. They need to pay their rent. They need to take their kids to the doctor .. all of those things. We can’t afford a shutdown.”