Guy W. Farmer: Republican candidates oppose Yucca dump | NevadaAppeal.com

Guy W. Farmer: Republican candidates oppose Yucca dump

Guy W. Farmer
For the Nevada Appeal

Although some Nevada Republicans think it would be a good idea to dump nearly 80,000 tons of highly toxic nuclear waste on our state, three leading GOP presidential candidates who addressed the issue during a recent Las Vegas debate opposed the Yucca Mountain Project.

Republicans are supposed to support the 10th Amendment and states’ rights, and that’s exactly what the candidates did. Good for them!

“The idea that 49 states can tell Nevada, ‘We want to give you our nuclear waste,’ doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-runner. He said states should bid on the project, rather than have “the federal government jam it down their throats.”

“On this one (Romney) hit the nail right on the head,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, one of Romney’s chief opponents.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a libertarian, said the nuclear waste dump project is a states’ rights issue, “and then we get involved with which state is going to get stuck with the (nuclear) garbage,” he added.

All of this is music to my ears and those of thousands of my fellow Nevadans who oppose the Yucca Mountain Project.

Some Republicans want to violate the 10th Amendment by forcing the majority of Nevadans to accept something they don’t want. For example, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., thinks “it’s a mistake for the Republican Party to buy into the political answer (to the nuclear waste issue) like President Obama did.” South Carolina is one of the states that have sued Nevada in federal court to force us to accept their nuclear waste.

According to the Associated Press, South Carolina Republicans “claim the Obama administration’s moves to scuttle Yucca Mountain project are aimed at benefiting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.”

That may be partially true, but so what?

Reid has led the fight against the toxic project, and I congratulate him for his unwavering efforts to scuttle it in the face of immense pressure from the nuclear energy industry to approve it. Reid is leading a bipartisan effort that includes three elected Republicans: Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei.

Reid and the Obama administration plan to kill the Yucca Project by cutting off its funding. A divided Nuclear Regulatory Commission last month allowed the administration to continue its plan to close the dump site. Citing “budgetary limitations,” the NRC issued an order directing the Energy Department to stop work on the site and close it down.

And now, a bit of history for new Nevadans: In 1987 Congress passed the infamous “Screw Nevada Bill” designating Yucca Mountain as the only site to be studied for nuclear waste disposal. But in those days the Silver State had much less political clout than it has today. In fact, the political landscape has changed so much since then that Nevada is now a must-win state for presidential candidates. So let’s hold the line on Yucca Mountain and close it down once and for all.

• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is a longtime opponent of the Yucca Mountain Project.