WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan congressional delegation, led by Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), on Saturday traveled to the Nevada desert to visit the Yucca Mountain site. Members came to view the repository location firsthand and learn about the history and the scientific and technical characteristics of the repository design.
Members of Congress on the Tour:
- Energy and Commerce Committee Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL)
- Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)
- Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR)
- Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX)
- Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN)
- Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
- Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)
- Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
- Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
- Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ)
- Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC)
- Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)
Congress designated Yucca Mountain over 30 years ago as the site for our nation’s first permanent geologic repository, but the Obama administration pulled the plug on the project in 2010. During a hearing this April, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry testified that as of Fiscal Year 2017, the approximate amount that ratepayers paid into the Nuclear Waste Fund to construct and oversee the nuclear waste management program is approaching $40 billion and that taxpayers are liable for $9 million on a daily basis.
Last year, Energy and Commerce passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (NWPAA), authored by Rep. Shimkus, out of committee by a bipartisan vote of 49-4. In May, the House passed the bill by an overwhelming 340-72 vote. The NWPAA would restart the long-stalled process of building the repository at Yucca Mountain.
“My goal was to bring my colleagues out here to see the site, talk to the people who have been involved with it for years, understand the science,” said Shimkus to The Nevada Independent. “It’s kind of self explanatory when you travel out here and see the remoteness and what’s been done so we can move forward.”
“When you come out and see something firsthand, something your colleagues haven’t, it’s our job to get back and educate,” said Walden to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This is an ongoing issue for the committee and for the country for a long time. We need to get to a permanent solution that respects the voices in Nevada, but also understands this is a national issue, and so that’s why we’re here.”
To learn more about the NWPAA, click here.
For a comprehensive list of the committee’s work as it relates to Yucca Mountain, click here.