As the U.S. and other nations become increasingly dependent on nuclear energy, our elected officials are faced with a difficult decision about what to do with nuclear byproducts. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives last month passed, by a large margin (340-72), a repeatedly tried-and-failed proposal for Nevada’s Yucca Mountain to become the country’s sole consolidated nuclear waste repository.
This is simply a non-starter, and not just for Nevadans.
According to the proposal, nuclear waste would travel through 329 congressional districts in 44 states before it would reach Yucca Mountain, a mere 90 miles from one of our country’s most visited tourist destinations. More than 43 million visitors come to Las Vegas annually from every state, and international destinations across the globe.
Yet, some in Congress and the federal government continue to advance the shortsighted notion that the entirety of the nation’s nuclear waste should be transported over hundreds of miles through the heart of the country to a site a short drive from the Las Vegas city limits, and its 2.1 million residents and employees. It is particularly disappointing that congressional Republicans who have traditionally espoused states’ rights would seek to use federal power to attempt to compel Nevada to house nuclear waste over the objections of the bipartisan congressional delegation, the governor and businesses and citizens across the Silver State.
Las Vegas provides an anchor for the U.S. casino gaming industry. Casinos have operations in 40 states, and are a staple in local economies across the country. In Nevada, the gaming industry supports 430,000 jobs and more than $18.7 billion in wages, while also generating $7.9 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. We will oppose policy that places our employees, our customers and our businesses at risk.
Now that the House has advanced this bad policy, the debate moves to the Senate, where similar efforts have failed for nearly three decades.
We stand with the many concerned citizens, small business operators and bipartisan members of the Nevada delegation in staunch opposition to any attempt to restart the repository licensing process.