Committee Leaders Press Moniz on Plans to Comply with Nuclear Waste Court Orders

December 11, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) today wrote to Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz regarding DOE’s intentions to comply with two recent court decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In August, the court ruled that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must resume its consideration of the Department of Energy’s license application for Yucca Mountain. Last month, the court then ordered the Department of Energy to submit to Congress a proposal to zero out the nuclear waste fee until work resumes on Yucca Mountain.

In previous testimony before the subcommittee, Moniz indicated a willingness to carry out the law, but the court’s recent decisions highlight DOE’s failure to meet previous legal obligations. In its August decision, the court stated, “…the President and federal agencies may not ignore statutory mandates or prohibitions merely because of policy disagreement with Congress.” When ruling that DOE has failed to carry out the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and must now act to discontinue collection of the nuclear waste fee, the court observed, “…the Secretary still declines to carry out his basic statutory obligation.” 

In the letter to Moniz, Upton and Shimkus concluded, “Despite DOE officials’ repeated commitments to this committee that DOE will follow the law, the impartial U.S. Court of Appeals’ conclusions indicate otherwise.”  The leaders are asking for DOE to respond to a series of questions regarding the department’s plans to respond to the court’s recent actions and begin following the law.

To read the entire letter, click here