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July 22, 2019

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Act would give states voice on nuclear waste dumps

Yucca Mountain tour

John Locher / AP

The south portal of Yucca Mountain is seen during a congressional tour Thursday, April 9, 2015, near Mercury. Several members of Congress toured the proposed radioactive waste dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Updated Tuesday, March 5, 2019 | 1:25 p.m.

Members of Nevada’s congressional delegation are attempting to ensure states have a voice in the construction of nuclear waste repositories.

The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act would require approval of the governor and impacted local governments and tribes before any money could be spent on a nuclear waste repository from the federal Nuclear Waste Fund. The act would be applicable to all states.

The act was introduced by most of the Nevada delegation, including U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen and U.S. Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, all Democrats.

Nevada is home to the dormant Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository.

Titus, who has introduced a similar bill multiple times in the past, said the federal government should not force a waste site on any community.

“The Trump Administration’s attempt to treat our state as the dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste is based on dirty politics, not sound science. No state or community should have a nuclear waste dump forced upon them. I’m reintroducing this legislation as part of our strategy to put an end to the Yucca Mountain project once and for all,” she said in a statement.

In a statement, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak thanked the lawmakers "for introducing this legislation to ensure Nevadans have a seat at the table for any discussion of our country’s nuclear waste storage plans."

Nevada lawmakers criticized the Yucca Mountain project, vowing to oppose it.

“Every year, Nevadans are forced to deal with attempts by Washington to force nuclear waste into their backyards,” Cortez Masto said in a statement. “Yucca Mountain is unsafe, scientifically unsound, and a total waste of taxpayer dollars, to the tune of $19 billion so far.”

Lee, Horsford and Titus characterized Yucca Mountain as a push to turn Nevada into the nation’s dumping ground.

“I refuse to sit by and watch my community be used as a dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste,” Horsford said in a statement. “Yucca Mountain is an ongoing threat to the safety of Nevada families and to the Silver State’s $40 billion tourism industry.”