Masto to asked to join Yucca Mountain opposition team

By Chris Rizo | Jun 8, 2008

Catherine Cortez Masto

CARSON CITY, Nev. (Legal Newsline)-Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has been asked to participate in a coalition of state officials opposed to the planned nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain.

Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons last week called for a meeting of state officials and Nevada's congressional delegation to coordinate their opposition to the proposed nuclear waste repository in the remote Nevada desert.

"Now that the Department of Energy has submitted its application for Yucca Mountain to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it's essential that we are all on the same page in fighting this project," Gibbons said in a statement.

"We have many talented people objecting to Yucca for a wide variety of reasons. I simply want to be sure that we coordinate our efforts to maximize our chances to defeat this misguided project once and for all," he added.

In an earlier interview with Legal Newsline, Masto outlined her opposition to the Yucca Mountain project.

"There's been no proof that it is safe; there is concern about the health and welfare of the people who live here based on the contamination to the environment," she said. "The majority are opposed to it and rightfully so."

Masto told LNL that the Yucca Mountain project is "a concern for everyone in this state," noting that polls indicate that about 70 percent of Nevadans are opposed to the controversial project.

More recently, Masto said in a statement that the Department of Energy's review of the Yucca Mountain project comes amid "public distrust" of the federal agency.

"After more than 25 years of trying to make Yucca Mountain work by manipulating regulations, covering up flaws, and even falsifying and manipulating data, submission of this fraudulently defective Yucca (License Application) only serves to reinforce and further deepen that distrust," Masto said.

The controversial Yucca Mountain repository is decades behind schedule, causing nuclear waste to pile up at commercial power plants in 39 states, proponents say.

Since Congress finally approved the project in 2002, Nevada officials have tried to block the project, which was originally planned to open in 1996.

In addition to the Democratic attorney general and the state's congressional delegation, the governor has invited Agency for Nuclear Projects Executive Director Bob Loux, Conservation and Natural Resources Director Allen Biaggi, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Administrator Leo Drozdoff, State Water Engineer Tracy Taylor, Public Safety Director Jerry Hafen and Health and Human Services Director Mike Willden.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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