Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) announced he and the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services worked together to exclude the $30 million budget for Yucca Mountain in 2019.
According to Heller, he also worked with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), both members of the Armed Services Committee, to keep the authorization to revive Yucca Mountain out of the U.S. Senate’s version of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.
“This is as long-term as we can get because you can’t tell one Congress to the next to which laws they can and cannot enforce,” Heller said in an interview over the phone. He also explained it was this reason the Yucca Mountain argument tends to happen every two years.
On May 24, the U.S. House of Representatives approved their version of NDAA, which included the $30 million needed to revive Yucca Mountain. Since the U.S. Senate version of NDAA differs from the House version, a joint conference committee was tasked with reconciling the different versions of the bill.
When asked if there were any political risks in opposing President Donald Trump on Yucca Mountain, Heller said he wasn’t “willing to waive the white flag on this issue.”
“I don’t believe it’s in the best interest to take some dollars at the security and safety of Nevadans across the state,” Heller added. “We’re talking about 50 years of bringing nuclear waste to the city of Las Vegas, I don’t think there’s any upside.”
Heller said he would be willing to discuss the $30 million and re-allocate the money towards different projects, so long as Yucca Mountain was not included in the budget.
According to a statement from Heller’s office, the Nevada senator thanked McCain for maintaining his position on keeping Yucca Mountain closed.
"I still have more work to do to endure Yucca Mountain never sees the light of day and I'm committed to doing everything that I can to make sure of it," Heller said.
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