Gibbons: Yucca budget request too high |

Gibbons: Yucca budget request too high

by Geoff Dornan

Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., has asked House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, to oppose major increases in funding for the Yucca Mountain project contained in President Bush’s proposed budget.

Gibbons said a 50 percent increase in funding for the project to more than $880 million for next year is fiscally irresponsible given the deficit and in light of unanswered scientific questions about the dump plan.

“Certainly the unanswered scientific questions, public safety and health concerns and unresolved issue of how the nuclear waste will be shipped across country to Yucca Mountain warrant further examination before Congress allows the budget for this proposed repository to balloon to this unprecedented level,” said Gibbons.

“At a time when Congress should be tightening its spending belt whenever possible, it would be ill-considered for us to allow funding to increase at an astronomical rate for a project that may very well be proven unfeasible before it is even licensed,” he added.

Gibbons also urged Nussle to support his efforts to prevent the Yucca Mountain project “off-budget.” Bush’s administration has proposed allowing utility contributions to the project to be paid directly to the Department of Energy, which he said would severely limit congressional ability to oversee how those funds are spent.

Gibbons raised the issues in a letter to Nussle saying the Yucca Mountain proposals by the administration would be fiscally irresponsible given the status of the project and the nation’s budget deficit.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.