Energy & Commerce Leaders Press Energy Dept. on Yucca Mountain, Status of Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Collected for Disbanded Project

February 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) today sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu seeking answers on the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository.  Upton and Shimkus are concerned that despite the scientific community's seal of approval as well as billions of taxpayer dollars collected for the project, the administration inexplicably pulled the plug on the Yucca repository without offering a viable alternative. 

In the letter to Energy Secretary Chu, Upton and Shimkus expressed concern over the billions of dollars that have been collected from the American public's monthly electric bills.  The two lawmakers wrote, "In the case of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (the Act) we have extra obligations:  a fiduciary duty to consumers who, under the Act, have paid billions of dollars into the Waste Fund only -so far -to receive nothing in return; and a moral obligation to stop the flow of taxpayer dollars from the U.S. Treasury to pay damages to plant operators whose contracts with the Department of Energy (the Department) to transfer possession of nuclear waste material are breached."

Upton and Shimkus further wrote, "It would be difficult to draft legislation to make the Act more plain, specific, and mandatory than it already is.   However, all three of these problems must be solved:  the establishment of a permanent facility for accepting high level waste; the consumers paying out billions of dollars and receiving nothing in return; and the Treasury paying out billions of dollars in damages with no real end in sight due to the Department's failure to meet its obligations."   

The full text of the letter sent today is available online HERE.

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