I usually return to Carson with a couple of column ideas after visiting friends in Southern California, and my most recent visit to LaLa Land is no exception because I came across interesting newspaper articles about the moribund Yucca Mountain nuclear waste suppository – excuse me, repository – and the state of Jefferson separatist movement in "red" California.
First, let's discuss the latest Yucca Mountain news. Fortunately, there isn't any unless we pay attention to alleged federal "experts" and well-paid nuclear industry lobbyists who continue to assure us that 77,000 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste would be good for Nevada because the feds would shower us with millions of dollars worth of "free" money. Forget about it.
The news from Southern California is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license that would permit nuclear waste from the defunct San Onofre nuclear plant, located on the coast between Los Angeles and San Diego, to be stored in Texas, which doesn't like the idea.
"The looming conflict between federal approval and state refusal has haunting echoes of the moribund Yucca Mountain project," the Orange County Register reported. It sure does because as soon as the NRC licensing news broke, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to prevent San Onofre nuclear waste from being shipped to the Lone Star State.
This brings back memories of how former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and a bipartisan coalition of true blue Nevadans stopped the Yucca Mountain project in its tracks. Kudos go to Govs. Richard Bryan, Kenny Guinn and Brian Sandoval, and Nevada's congressional delegation, among others. The nuclear energy industry may want to revive the Yucca Mountain project, but it isn't going to happen in my lifetime. Hooray!
The State of Jefferson
"Smoldering Resentment in Red California," a Los Angeles Times headline announced on a story that highlighted the fact that while heavily populated coastal California voted overwhelmingly against the effort to recall progressive Gov. Gavin Newsom, "red" California – a large area stretching from Lassen County and beyond in the north to Inyo and Mono counties in the Eastern Sierra – voted to recall Newsom. In other words, there's a huge political divide between urban and rural California very similar to what we have here in the Silver State between greater Las Vegas and the rest of the state.
Reporting from Susanville, L.A. Times journalist Hailey Branson-Potts wrote that "Newsom's landslide (64-36) victory landed like a kick in the shin with a steel-toed boot" because 84 percent of Lassen County voters favored Newsom's recall. "A common refrain (in Susanville) is that 'King Newsom' doesn't visit unless there's a wildfire and a photo op." Because, after all, what does California's elitist and "woke" governor have in common with the people of rural California? Not much, because most rural Californians would rather be part of neighboring Nevada, or secede and form their own state of Jefferson. I wish them well.
"We're looked down upon as the oddball cousins up here in the middle of nowhere," one Susanville resident told the Los Angeles reporter, who described Lassen County as "a remote outpost bordering the Nevada state line." No wonder increasing numbers of rural Californians are supporting the secessionist state of Jefferson movement.
"It will be incredibly difficult to bridge the cultural divide between red and blue California," said Kim Nalder, director of the Informed Electorate Project at Cal State Sacramento. Yes it will, because Bay Area elitists like Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi will never understand rural Californians, nor do they want to… but we do.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.