July 31, 2009

Idaho Delegation, Governor Decry Funding Cut For Yucca Mountain

Washington, DC - The Idaho congressional delegation joined with Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter to respond to the announcement that the Obama Administration has struck a deal to not request any funding for Yucca Mountain in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter said, "The federal government made a commitment to Idaho under the landmark 1995 settlement agreement that it will get its radioactive waste out of the state no later than 2035. It's troubling to see this President and certain members of Congress taking actions such as this and undermining the federal government's ability to keep its commitments to the detriment of Idahoans and the nation. It's a breach of trust."


Senator Mike Crapo said, "I am disappointed that the Administration will not be requesting the appropriate funding to continue to meet its obligation to Idaho to find a permanent storage facility for waste that has been sitting over our aquifer for years and years. The State of Idaho has a court-approved agreement with specific deadlines for the Department of Energy to remove all nuclear waste from the state, and the federal government must live up to that agreement. Without a permanent location to safely store nuclear waste, the role of nuclear energy as a component in our nation's energy portfolio will be severely affected. I will do all in my power to ensure that the federal government lives up to its commitment to the State and people of Idaho."


Senator Jim Risch said, "The President's decision to kill the nation's congressionally-directed repository for high-level nuclear waste as a favor to one state is politics at its worst. This is a political deal that flies in the face of our nation's energy security as well as the Settlement Agreement that the state of Idaho reached with the federal government in 1995," said Risch. "I brought the Settlement Agreement to the Secretary of Energy's attention for the first time during his nomination hearing in January and this week I met with him again and confirmed his knowledge of those obligations. The Administration's decision to knowingly undermine their commitments to Idaho and 33 other states, with no clear alternative, cannot stand. This has become a hallmark of this Administration, first with the Guantanamo prison site and now Yucca Mountain, to jump without knowing where they are going to land."

"For an Administration that touts science over politics, it seems to have gotten amnesia on Yucca Mountain," said Representative Mike Simpson. "Dozens of scientific studies over the past ten years have clearly shown that Yucca Mountain is not only a suitable, but perhaps perfect, place to store spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste. Yucca's demise, and the tens of billions it will ultimately cost taxpayers, is nothing more for President Obama than the price of Nevada's five electoral votes. The House and Senate both have strong majorities that support Yucca Mountain and I remain hopeful that Senator Reid and President Obama will not have the last word on this matter."