- Thought some would find this to be interesting regarding Yucca Mtn Project:
Federal Court Orders NRC To Resume Yucca Mountain Review.
The AP (8/14, Daly) reports, “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been violating federal law by delaying” the decision on the DOE’s application for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository site in Nevada, according to the Federal appeals court decision Tuesday. The panel’s “sharply worded opinion,” asserted that the NRC “was ‘simply flouting the law’ when it allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the proposed waste site.” In the majority opinion Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote that the “president may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections.”
Reuters (8/14, Hurley) reports that Jack Spencer of the Heritage Foundation predicted that not much would change in the near term. “Under the current political environment, it seems unlikely additional funds will be given” toward either the NRC review of the license application or to the project itself, though he said the decision means “Yucca is not dead.”
The Wall Street Journal (8/14, Tracy, Johnson, Subscription Publication) notes that Heritage Foundation nuclear expert Jack Spencer said, “The narrative had been, Yucca Mountain is dead. And the court said, no, Yucca is not dead.”
Bloomberg News (8/14, Wingfield, Zajac) notes that in an email, NRC spokesman David McIntyre said the agency is reviewing the decision.
The New York Times (8/14, Wald, Subscription Publication) adds that Judge Kavanaugh, said it was “no overstatement to say that our constitutional system of separation of powers would be significantly altered if we were to allow executive and independent agencies to disregard federal law in the manner asserted in this case by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”
The Los Angeles Times (8/13, Vartabedian) reports that while the ruling is “a victory of sorts for those who want the proposed dump to open,” it “may have little practical impact in the long-running dispute over Yucca Mountain,” noting that since Congress “is unlikely to approve additional funding, the ruling appears to be a symbolic victory for the plaintiffs, which were led by South Carolina and Washington state.”
The Christian Science Monitor (8/13, Spotts) adds that National Association of State Utility Commissioners exec Philip Jones said the “case is not so much about Yucca Mountain as it is about due process,” noting that “existing law requires the NRC to determine whether the facility and location is safe for storing spent-nuclear fuel.”
Bloomberg News (8/14, Wingfield) adds that the though the “split decision mandates the NRC resume its safety review, it doesn’t guarantee that the facility, which has cost taxpayers and industry at least $15 billion, will be built.” Former NRC member Victor Gilinsky said, “The court isn’t saying ‘approve Yucca Mountain.’” The law requires the DOE to “submit an application and the NRC as the regulator to review it, he said.” But if the DOE “ultimately decides the Yucca Mountain site doesn’t meet the nation’s needs, ‘that’s the end of it.’”
In its “E2 Wire” blog, The Hill (8/13, Colman) calls the decision “a victory for Republicans, who have charged that President Obama’s 2010 decision to pull the plug on the reviews ran afoul of a law that outlines Yucca as the nation’s sole waste storage site.” The Hill adds that the Administration, “which has endorsed the findings of an independent expert panel convened by Obama that said options other than Yucca should be explored for storing nuclear waste,” may challenge the ruling.
The Washington Examiner (8/13, Contorno) also reports on the ruling, noting that it was “expected,” since the same court last year “pushed the commission to make a decision unless Congress decided to cancel funding for a review of the application, which it did not do.”
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal (8/14, Subscription Publication) also portrays the ruling as a condemnation of the Administration and urges more courts to reject what it describes as the President’s growing defiance of constitutional limits.
Platts (8/14, Hiruo) adds that the Obama Administration has opposed building the Yucca Mountain site from its first days in office, and “then-NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko began an orderly shutdown of the Yucca licensing review in 2010 and terminated all review activities in 2011, saying the agency did not have the funds needed to continue that work.”
On its “WGDB” blog website, Roll Call (8/13, Lesniewski) noted that the court recognized that Congress could “very well continue to use the power of the purse to deny funding for the project in the Democratic senator’s home state of Nevada.” Sen. Reid has “long used his clout as majority leader to ensure that federal money isn’t appropriated for the project.”
On its website, WRDW-TV Augusta, GA (8/13, Mills) reported that with the decision, “Aiken County has scored a presumably large victory against the Obama Administration that could be a game-changer in how nuclear waste is stored in the United State.” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said “This decision reaffirms a fundamental truth: the President is not above the law.” Wilson added, “His administration cannot pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore.”
The AP (8/14) notes that Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson welcomed the appeals court decision Yucca as “good news for people who want a permanent place for Hanford waste.” Ferguson said the ruling “requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to act on the Energy Department’s application to license the Yucca Mountain site,” while Rep. Doc Hastings “told KONA that despite the administration, Yucca Mountain is still the preferred site for Hanford waste.”
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