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Johnston, who authored the "Screw Nevada" bill naming Yucca Mountain as the only candidate for a high-level nuclear waste dump, had been working as a lobbyist for the nuclear industry.

When the news hit, Nevadans representing the state, including Sen. Harry Reid, Gov. Kenny Guinn, Rep. Jim Gibbons and Shelley Berkley, rolled into action, calling President-elect Bush.

Johnston told the Associated Press that he withdrew for personal reasons, but a resistance to his very consideration was already organizing from the state that put Bush in the White House.

This is a good sign.

Hopefully, this is a confirmation of the promise Guinn and other Republicans elicited from Bush that a decision on Yucca Mountain will be based on science.

Certainly, the recent revelation of a memo suggesting that scientific research is just a smokescreen to keep Congress happy while the Department of Energy gets approval for the nuke dump confirms our worst fears about the scientific process.

An internal investigation into the memo's source has been ordered by Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. Whether that investigation goes forward or is just a whitewash will depend on who succeeds Richardson.

The results of that investigation may decide whether Nevada will indeed become a wasteland.


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