Yucca Mountain gains House approval
Facebook Twitter Email

MAP: Tribes located near Yucca Mountain site.

PDF: Sites where waste is currently stored.
The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a plan to store up to 77,000 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste on traditional Shoshone land in Nevada.

By a vote of 306 to 177, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers backed President Bush's endorsement of Yucca Mountain. Located about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, the site would accept waste currently housed at locations nationwide.

Many lawmakers support the project for that reason and believe it will help secure the nation's energy future. "For the sake of long-term public health and safety, and our national security interests, it is critically important that we move to develop Yucca Mountain," said Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, after the vote.

Opponents use a variant of the argument and charged that shipping the waste poses a great risk to terrorist attacks. "We will create thousands of weapons for terrorists," said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) on the House floor.

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), the ranking member of the House Resources Committee, challenged the plan's scientific rationale. He also noted that the area is still claimed by Shoshone tribes under the Ruby Valley Treaty of 1863.

"Yet, in arrogance, and that is what it is, arrogance, this administration has determined that this particular sacred site is a pretty good place for a nuclear waste repository," he said. "That is desecration, plain and simple."

These and other arguments weren't enough to derail the Department of Energy project. A total of 203 Republicans, 102 Democrats and 1 independent rejected a veto by Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn (R), a power granted under the federal law which mandates a federal site.

Siding with Guinn and a broad coalition of state officials, politicians, residents and area tribes were 13 Republicans, 103 Democrats and 1 independent. All of Nevada's delegation oppose the repository.

The proposal now goes onto the Senate where it faces an uncertain future. Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) and Majority Whip Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) are trying to shore up opposition.

Relevant Links:
The Yucca Mountain Project, Department of Energy -
Nuclear Waste Project Office -

Related Stories:
House voting on Yucca Mountain (5/8)
House Panel approves Yucca Mountain (4/24)
Yucca Mountain water shut off (4/11)
Votes said short against Yucca (4/10)
Nevada vetoes Yucca Mountain (4/9)
Yucca fight brings in big guns (4/2)
Abraham: Yucca Mountain is safe (3/26)
Daschle can't stop Yucca vote (3/21)
Campbell opposing Yucca site (3/20)
Bush picks Yucca Mountain (2/19)
Editorial: Nuclear push a joke (2/7)
Yucca Mountain suitability questioned (2/6)
Budget pledges Yucca Mountain funds (2/5)
Nev. seeks Yucca Mountain delay (1/25)
Nuclear waste rules up for change (1/24)
GOP Congressman has doubts on Yucca (1/22)
Political pressure urged on Yucca Mountain (1/17)
Yucca Mountain recommended as nuclear dump (1/11)
Nevada: Yucca Mountain decision 'stinks' (1/11)
Yucca Mountain decision could come today (1/10)
Yucca doubts won't be addressed soon (1/9)
Yucca Mountain ready for decision (1/8)
Suit filed over nuclear waste project (12/18)
Rules on Yucca Mountain changed (12/11)
Groups want Yucca Mountain approved (12/7)
Senate considering nuclear nominee (12/6)
Editorial: Bad news for Yucca Mountain (12/3)
Nev. seeks money for nuclear fight (11/21)
Yucca Mountain law firm cited (11/16)
Safety at Yucca Mountain focus of bill (11/15)
Yucca Mountain probe expanding (11/8)
Yucca Mountain leak being probed (11/2)
Yucca Mountain suit revived (10/16)
Yucca Mountain foes cite terrorism (10/11)
Tighter nuclear safety rules approved (10/4)
Yucca Mountain site said safe (8/22)
Tribe seeks Yucca Mountain input (6/26)
Yucca Mountain canisters said safe (6/22)
Bingaman warming up to Yucca Mountain (6/21)
Yucca Mountain standards released (6/6)
GOP faces last day in power (6/5)
Ex-DOE official criticizes Yucca Mountain (5/31)
Yucca Mountain battle heating up (5/29)
Shift in Senate means changes for Indian Country (5/25)
Bush predicts doom without his energy policy (5/18)
Inside the Bush energy policy (5/18)
Bush's energy policy and Indian Country (5/18)
Nevada objections lead to nuclear rewrite (5/18)
Tiny tribe worried about nuclear push (5/9)
Tribe files suit to protect nuclear investment (4/20)
Tribe wants say in nuclear decision (4/20)
Nuclear waste headed for Nevada? (1/17)
DOE launches nuclear probe (12/14)