Lawmakers add staff to Public Works

(Appeal News Service) Facing the prospect of 141 active capital improvement projects during the coming biennium, the Senate Finance Committee voted Monday to add seven professional staff to the Public Works department.

The proposal would add three project managers and four building inspectors to the staff at Public Works. According to documentation provided by the agency, they expect to complete all but 16 of the 141 projects by the end of the coming two-year budget cycle if the staff is added.

"This is hopefully to obviate some of the problems that have occurred in some of the major projects," said Finance chairman Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

He mentioned specifically litigation involving the Sawyer Building, Veterans Home and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Library in Southern Nevada.

Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, said the added staff could have prevented problems with those buildings and possibly the resulting litigation. Coffin referred to the Sawyer Building, where experts say tiles covering the front of the structure are in danger of falling off and hurting some one.

"If that had been properly supervised, if somebody had been on that project all the time, we would not have had this," he said.

Senate passes measure denouncing Yucca nuke dump

(AP) - The Nevada Senate unanimously passed a measure Monday that urges federal lawmakers to oppose controversial plans for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

AJR4, approved earlier by the Assembly, asks federal decision-makers to give up on Yucca Mountain because it is "an ill-advised project based on bad science, bad law and bad public policy, a choice that ignores better, less expensive and safer alternatives, a choice which hinders, not helps, national security."

Despite delays and spending cuts, Energy Department officials have said recently that the Yucca Mountain plan is alive and well, and that support from the Bush administration remains strong. But opponents have declared the project dead.

Recent problems with the government's plans for the dump include criminal investigations to determine whether workers on the project falsified data.

Also, a court decision has forced a rewrite of radiation safety standards for the site - and the DOE has scrapped a planned 2010 completion date.


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