May 8, 2018
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510
RE: Oppose H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works to turn environmental values into national priorities. Each year, LCV publishes the National Environmental Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of Congress on environmental legislation. The Scorecard is distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide, and the media.
LCV, Nevada Conservation League, and Conservation Voters New Mexico urge you to vote NO on H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017.
This legislation will put our nation’s nuclear waste storage policy on the wrong track yet again. It contains rollbacks of public health and environmental laws, along with provisions that continue to preempt state, local, and Tribal objections and supplant scientific and technical decisions. H.R. 3053 attempts to truncate public review in order to force “solutions” to the myriad of problems associated with Yucca Mountain. Rather than charge forward at the cost of public safety and public resources, we urge Congress to reject this legislation and instead start an important and necessary consent-based approach to siting for permanent solution for high-level nuclear waste, as recommended by the Blue-Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future formed by President Obama and co-chaired by former Representative Lee H. Hamilton and Gen. Brent Scowcroft.
H.R. 3053 undermines the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by exempting DOE from having to consider the need for the action, alternative actions, or a no-action alternative—the key analyses of an environmental impact statement. The bill would also circumvent safety protocols and the rights of those negatively impacted to have their arguments heard by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to make a final decision on potential construction authorization within 30 months of enactment of this flawed legislation.
H.R. 3053 continues to ignore Nevada’s objections to this site, including a resolution passed in the Nevada state legislature expressing the state’s opposition to the development of Yucca Mountain. This legislation also seeks to eliminate Nevada’s ability to object to becoming the site for an interim storage facility. Finally, the legislation seeks to change the amount of high level nuclear waste that can be stored at Yucca Mountain, beginning the process of attempting to make Yucca Mountain the nation’s only high-level nuclear waste repository. Without solving for these and the other problems associated with nuclear waste, the path towards consolidated interim storage in this legislation would also be problematic as it creates the serious risk that an interim storage site in Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, or possibly Texas, will become the de facto final resting place for nuclear waste.
For these reasons, LCV, Nevada Conservation League, and Conservation Voters New Mexico urge you to oppose H.R. 3053. LCV will strongly consider including this vote in the 2018 Scorecard. If you need more information, please call my office at (202) 785-8683 and ask to speak with a member of our government relations team.
League of Conservation Voters
Nevada Conservation League
Conservation Voters New Mexico