Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Frank H. Murkowski today spoke of the process outlined by Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 by which the Senate will consider the Yucca Mountain issue. “With tremendous foresight nearly 20 years ago, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act established a process that protected the Senate rules and helped ensure Yucca would receive a fair debate. Safeguards were established to make certain the issue was decided on its merits, not parliamentary tricks. Today, the Senate is finally benefitting from this process as it is put in motion. “There is a history associated with these procedures. When the Nuclear Waste Policy Act was debated in 1982, a central question was how to treat an objection by the State selected for the repository, if, in fact, the State objected. Congressman Moakley, then Chairman of the House Rules Committee, was concerned over what he perceived as a Constitutional issue – single House action – and sought an approach that would allow a State to raise an objection. At the same time, he wanted to guarantee that a decision would be made without raising Constitutional questions. The process, which includes the right of any Senator to make the motion to proceed, is that guarantee. “Majority Leader Daschle has made his opposition to Yucca very clear. I disagree with his position, but I do not question his honesty or integrity, nor do I wish to hinder his ability to control the floor in normal circumstances. “This resolution, however, it not a common occurrence. In this extraordinary case, we find ourselves governed, not by the usual rules and traditions of the Senate, but rather, by a very specific and limited expedited procedure set by law. It offers no precedent for any other situation and by its terms is limited to this specific situation. There are enough substantive issues that we can discuss. We do not need to suggest that somehow an explicit provision in a Statute should be ignored and does not mean precisely what it says. We should focus on the substance at hand, not politics or procedure. “I sincerely hope that the two Leaders can find a mutually agreeable time before the July Recess for us to take up this important resolution. Should an agreement not be reached, we will be forced to use the procedures outlined in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to bring this resolution to the floor. “Now more than ever, the need for Yucca is clear.” ###