Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement following the passage of the federal appropriations legislation that includes the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bills, which provides no federal funding for Yucca Mountain. Senator Cortez Masto has been an outspoken opponent of wasting any additional taxpayer dollars on the failed Yucca project.
“I’m pleased that Congress heeded Nevadans’ call to ensure that the misguided and dangerous Yucca Mountain project receives no additional taxpayer dollars. There is bipartisan consensus that Yucca Mountain is bad for Nevada’s future – more than 70% of Nevadans strongly oppose the project. Congress must respect the voice of Nevadans and pursue consent-based siting so that states have a voice when the federal government tries to dump nuclear waste in their backyards. Yucca is nothing but a hole in the ground that scientists have already confirmed sits on an earthquake prone fault line, making it far too dangerous for long term nuclear storage. This project has cost American taxpayers $19 billion with nothing to show for it. I will continue to do everything I can in the Senate to ensure that not one more dime of taxpayer money is wasted on this failed project.”
Funding for licensing activities at Yucca Mountain was included in the Trump Administration’s Budget Request for the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and in the initial House of Representatives Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which included $258 million to restart Yucca Mountain.
In May, Cortez Masto and Senate Democratic Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a joint statement assuring Nevadans that the House bill to revive Yucca Mountain was dead on arrival in the Senate. Cortez Masto also sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 17, 2018 to express her strong opposition to the inclusion of funds for Yucca Mountain and reiterated her insistence that consent-based siting is prioritized before any consideration of potential solutions that pertain to the long-term storage of nuclear waste. Cortez Masto cosponsored legislation on consent-based siting that would authorize construction of a nuclear waste repository only if the Secretary of Energy has secured written consent from the governor of the host state, affected units of local government, and affected Indian tribes.