Regional News: Trump’s Nevada play leaves nation’s nuclear waste in limbo

The president wants to win the state he narrowly lost in 2016, but he may be jumping into an energy issue

By Eric Wolff and Anthony Adragna | POLITICO

President Donald Trump is seeking to woo Nevada voters by abandoning the GOP’s decades of support for storing the nation’s nuclear waste under a mountain northwest of Las Vegas — a move that could drag the White House into an unsolvable political stalemate.

Trump, who is targeting a state that he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016, announced the turnabout in a tweet this month, writing: “Nevada, I hear you on Yucca Mountain and my Administration will RESPECT you!” He also pledged to find “innovative approaches” to find a new place to store the 90,000 metric tons of nuclear plant leftovers stranded at 120 temporary storage sites — an impasse that is on course to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

The statement surprised people involved in the debate because developing a permanent nuclear repository at Yucca has long been a priority of Republicans, and even Trump’s own budget proposals in previous years had sought money to keep it alive. Taxpayers spent $15 billion developing the nuclear site after Congress selected the location during the Reagan era, only to see the Obama administration freeze the plan amid opposition from the state’s political leaders.


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February 2020