May 22, 2002
12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Frank H. Murkowski, the Ranking Member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released the following statement today at the second of three hearings on the proposed Yucca Mountain high level waste and spent nuclear fuel repository. “Today the Committee was scheduled to hear from the State of Nevada on the reasons why the Governor vetoed the selection of Yucca Mountain as a repository for high level waste and spent nuclear fuel. This hearing could have been very beneficial to the Committee as we deliberate the sufficiency of the Administration’s site recommendation and the Governor’s veto of it. “I was looking forward to hearing from the Governor and the legislature about the reasons for the State’s veto, as well as from any other Nevadans who may be opposed. I think this would have been important because, while the Nuclear Waste Policy Act is very clear on the Administration’s responsibilities for site selection, it is ambiguous on the criteria for the State of Nevada to accept or veto that decision. “Unfortunately, the Committee will not have this opportunity today because no one from the State will appear. Instead, we have a slate of witnesses who will speak to issues unrelated to the limited question before this Committee – the sufficiency of the site selection. The concerns that our witnesses will raise go to other issues, such as transportation, that will be addressed by the Administration or the NRC during the licensing and transportation process. “Because the witnesses today will not be speaking to the direct issue before the Committee one could easily assume the State does not have any issue with the site selection. We have provided an opportunity for officials from the State of Nevada to appear before the Committee to discuss the veto and they have declined. “Even if we were to uphold the Governor’s veto and all the spent fuel and waste remained permanently on site in New York, at several sites in California, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Lake Michigan, and elsewhere, we would continue to transport waste. “The Committee, however, should take comfort in knowing that the State of Nevada seems to have no objection to the actual site selection decision itself, and when all is said and done, that is the only issue before the Committee at this time.” ###