Editorial: Yucca water a sticking point
State Engineer Mike Turnipseed struck a blow against nuclear-waste storage and for states’ rights when he ruled Wednesday the federal government can’t have water for Yucca Mountain.
The federal Department of Energy had applied for 430 acre-feet of water in Amargosa Valley for its project at Yucca Mountain, where the DOE wants to store nuclear waste from around the country.
Nevadans don’t want nuclear waste in their state. The only debate is whether the waste’s arrival is inevitable and Nevada should be working on a deal to profit from it.
Turnipseed, however, is working in the present. And his analysis is that water for a high-level waste dump “threatens to prove detrimental to the public interest.”
Fortunately, Turnipseed also has the opinion of the Nevada Legislature to back him up, as well as testimony from Citizen Alert and other groups. There’s also common sense, of course.
The DOE’s view, at least the one it has been instructed to research, is that shipping the nation’s nuclear waste to the Nevada desert is in the best interests of the country as a whole.
Known popularly as the “Screw Nevada” view of nuclear storage, it fails to take into consideration one thing: Nevadans.
But today, Turnipseed is our hero for pointing out that the federal government doesn’t have a right to water, which is among the few things still controlled by state law.
DOE must show a clear necessity for such a precious resource. It follows logically that Nevada clearly doesn’t need nuclear waste, and that it is a serious threat to our health and our economy. Therefore, sorry, no water.
That doesn’t mean the chess match between state and federal government officials over Yucca Mountain is anywhere near being concluded. It does mean, however, that Nevada can stand up one more time and say, “It’s your move.”