Dean Heller – the Nevada Senator – has fired further warning shots to President Trump over the issue of Yucca Mountain. He spoke in the US Senate voicing his opinions and arguing that nothing should be done to this mountain.
It’s been reported that the Trump administration is planning on using Yucca Mountain to dispose of nuclear waste. They aim to begin a process that sees them gain licensing for the mountain to become a nuclear repository.
Heller is one of the many Republicans that greatly oppose this move. Aside from damaging the environment and being potentially dangerous to the surrounding area, he points towards the impact this will have on tourism. Las Vegas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nevada, and in the US as a whole. Each year it sees tens of millions of people traveling from far and wide to enjoy the sights and scenes. Heller is adamant that these figures will drop dramatically if Yucca Mountain becomes a permanent site for nuclear waste.
His argument is simple; would you be likely to travel somewhere if you knew there was a huge mountain storing nuclear waste nearby? Furthermore, there’s the question of how the waste gets to Yucca Mountain in the first place. It has to be transported by vehicles, which probably means there will be large quantities of nuclear waste on some of the busiest and most popular roads. He even goes as far as to say the famous Las Vegas strip may well be one of the transportation routes.
Senator Heller fears that this will ultimately lead to economic problems in the area. Nevada gets a great deal of money through tourism in places like Las Vegas. If people avoid visiting these popular places, money could soon dry up causing a knock on effect to the local economy.
He calls on the current nominee for Department of Energy deputy secretary – Dan Brouillette – to do something about these proposed plans. Heller wants questions to be asked of this idea, as he doesn’t believe the Department of Energy’s Secretary – Rick Perry – has considered all the other options available. Perry is currently fully behind this idea and wants to push forward with the licensing process.
It’s noted that the President has already set aside $120 million in his 2018 budget, specifically for this process. Heller’s concerns are seemingly supported by many other Senators, especially those from the Democratic Party. During his term in office, President Obama blocked this licensing process as he viewed there were other, better, ways of storing nuclear waste.
While nuclear waste is undoubtedly a growing problem in the US, Senator Heller argues this is not the solution. The Senate must come together and think of a more viable option that won’t impact one of the nation’s greatest tourist spots.
Heller is very serious about this and has even threatened to potentially block the nomination for Brouillette as deputy secretary unless Yucca Mountain is scrapped. He’s not specifically said he will hold up the nomination, but he’s made it clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to stop the licensing process.