In a letter to the editor on Aug. 23, Donald Cunningham of Carson City writes that he can think of no better place than Nevada to house our nation's supply of nuclear garbage. This same view is shared by Republican leaders in Congress who have been relentless in their efforts to guarantee that Yucca Mountain becomes the permanent home to high-level nuclear waste.
Fortunately for the majority of Nevadans, who unlike Cunningham are opposed to nuclear waste storage, Vice President Al Gore has pledged his support in turning back Republican-led efforts in Congress to water down key health and safety standards for Yucca Mountain.
In a letter to U.S. Senator Harry Reid sent Aug. 17, Gore clearly stated that as president he would veto any legislation which would restrict the role of the EPA in determining acceptable radiation levels and other guidelines for the proposed nuclear waste dump 90 miles from Las Vegas.
It is important to remember that only President Clinton's veto prevented nuclear waste legislation from becoming law earlier this year, and Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have pledged they will be back to try again in 2001. These same leaders have also said that if a Republican is elected to the White House, there will be an interim nuclear waste dump at the Nevada Test Site. This would mean shipments of nuclear waste speeding to Nevada in as little as six months.
Unlike Gore, Gov. George W. Bush has failed to clarify his position on GOP efforts in Congress to accelerate the timetable for dumping nuclear waste in Nevada. During the GOP Convention in Philadelphia, Bush was silent on the need for tough standards to prevent nuclear contamination at the site, and he offered no new assurances to Nevada Republicans that he would side with them on this issue if elected to the White House.
Bush's reluctance to take a tough stance would come as no surprise in light of the fact that the GOP's 2000 platform contains language criticizing the Clinton-Gore administration for blocking efforts to dump nuke waste in Nevada. Proponents of Yucca Mountain know that tough radiation standards could ultimately disqualify the site and they view Bush as willing to accept legislation that would relax requirements for opening the dump.
Yucca Mountain is a threat to Nevada's families, to the environment and to our economy. We should know where the next president of our nation stands on the issue of nuclear waste and the role of the EPA in protecting the public and our water supplies from deadly radiation.
The people of Nevada need a president like Al Gore who will stand with them against the powerful nuclear industry, not a president like George W. Bush who will stand by and watch as the Silver State is turned into the nation's nuclear graveyard. The choice is clear, only Al Gore has given Nevada families his word that as President of the United States he will fight for what is right on this decisive issue.
Chairman, Nevada State Democratic Party