Berkley Blasts $3 Billion Yucca Mt.
“Railroad To Nowhere”
Congresswoman Presses Regulators to Block 300-mile Caliente Line;
Highlights Dangers of Nuke Waste Shipments at Las Vegas Hearing
Testifying at a hearing held in Las Vegas today (December 4, 2008,) Congresswoman Shelley Berkley pressed federal regulators with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to reject Bush administration plans to build a $3 billion railroad in Nevada to haul nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. Members of the STB convened the forum to hear from elected officials, residents and businesses concerned about the impact on communities in Nevada and across the U.S. from thousands of shipments of toxic nuclear waste targeted for burial in the Silver State.
“Nevadans oppose this $3 billion “Railroad to Nowhere” and we recognize the dangers that will accompany decades of toxic nuclear waste shipments to Yucca Mountain,” said Berkley. “My hope is that the STB will listen to our concerns and that they will block any effort by this White House to push forward on the Yucca Mountain rail line as they head out the door,” said Berkley.
In her testimony, Berkley highlighted Yucca Mountain’s pending demise as a result of efforts by Nevada’s Congressional delegation to cut funding for the dump and because of long-standing security concerns and unresolved scientific issues that have plagued the project for decades.
“Yucca Mountain is a $100 billion dinosaur waiting to become another fossil in the desert sands, and working together with President-elect Obama, Nevada's Congressional delegation will see that it's safely buried once and for all,” Berkley said. “So why are we still discussing plans for a 300-mile-long, $3 billion gold-plated railroad to nowhere that ends at a hole in the Nevada desert that will never become home to this nation's nuclear waste!”
The Congresswoman also questioned claims by the Energy Department that the “Yucca Mountain Express” would haul anything other than nuclear waste.
“Those who would ask you to believe that the Yucca Mountain Express will be hauling fresh fruits and vegetables to market may as well be saying they have acres of ocean front property to sell in Nye County right along the rail route,” said Berkley.
And she urged the STB to examine the total impact that more than 40 years of nuclear waste shipments would have on communities nationwide.
“But if STB is going to buy this hapless bluff, and move forward on DOE's application, the Board must look at the true impact that thousands of radioactive waste shipments -- transported over more than four decades -- will have on America's railroads and the residents of every state through which these “Mobile Chernobyls” will pass,” said Berkley.
Berkley Statement on Hearing for
Energy Secretary Nominee Dr. Steven Chu
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today released the following statement in response to a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on the nomination of Dr. Steven Chu to head the Department of Energy:
“Dr. Chu is eminently qualified to hold the position of Energy Secretary in the Obama Administration and I hope the Senate will act quickly to confirm his nomination to this important post.
Under lengthy questioning, Dr. Chu repeatedly addressed the nuclear waste question and I am pleased that his comments reflected the Obama Administration’s opposition to Yucca Mountain, as well as skepticism for claims that a proliferation-resistant recycling process is now on the immediate horizon.
As Dr. Chu stressed in his testimony, reprocessing nuclear waste creates the very same materials needed to build nuclear weapons and that is a problem which cannot be swept under the rug. The nuclear industry and its allies are calling for billions of dollars to create a new process that they claim will not increase the risk of bomb-making materials falling into the hands of terrorists or rogue nations, but there is no guarantee such a solution can be developed in the near future.
The only safe, workable solution to our nation’s nuclear waste problem is already in use today at nuclear power plants across America where waste is stored above ground in secure, hardened emplacements. This method of on-site storage will keep toxic radioactive garbage off our roads and railways for the next century and out of the hands of those seeking the means to build a dirty bomb or worse, a full-scale nuclear weapon. Dry cask storage will also provide needed time for new scientific breakthroughs that could ultimately eliminate the need for geologic storage.
Those committed to moving forward on an expensive new recycling program should spell out where they plan to find the cash to fund this scheme, especially if they also insist we continue funding Yucca Mountain to the tune of $100 billion. Will consumers be asked by the nuclear industry to pay higher fees or more taxes in order to fund this activity or will the money just magically appear? That is the question the nuclear industry and its allies should be prepared to answer.”
Berkley Announces $7.5 Million Grant for NV H.A.N.D.
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley announced that Nevada H.A.N.D. has been awarded a $7.5 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Nevada H.A.N.D is local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that develops affordable housing to improve the lives of low-income individuals in the metropolitan Las Vegas area.
“This funding will be used to construct 80 new housing units for low income Valley seniors. The planned addition of these units is welcome news for southern Nevada at a time when there is still a lack of safe, clean and affordable housing for older Valley residents living on fixed or limited incomes,” said Berkley.
Awarded to: Nevada H.A.N.D.
Grant Amount: $7.5 million
Description: This grant will be used by Nevada H.A.N.D. to provide low-income senior housing at their new Westcliff Pines Senior Living facilities. The site will house 80 additional residential units. Land for the project was obtained from the BLM through the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA) for affordable housing purposes. The Section 202 program allows elderly persons, 62 or older to live as independently as possible in the community with supportive services.