Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008 | 2 a.m.
Las Vegas has dropped its membership in a business group that promotes the federal plan to bury the nation’s high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.
This is a welcome change from last summer, when it defended its association with the Nevada Alliance for Defense, Energy and Business.
Writing Wednesday about the city’s change of heart, Las Vegas Sun reporter Jeff German quoted Las Vegas spokesman Jace Radke, who said the group has a “pro-economic development position on Yucca Mountain, while the city has taken a very strong position against Yucca Mountain.”
The city’s director of administrative services, Chris Knight, responding to inquiries from the Sun, staked out the opposite position last summer. “We don’t pick and choose who we do business with because there’s a single issue in which we have a disagreement on,” Knight said.
That was a strange comment coming from an official whose city has a long record of opposing the Yucca Mountain project, which poses multiple safety, transportation and environmental risks.
The Sun’s article last summer disclosed that the alliance’s Web site touts the group’s position that Southern Nevada could benefit economically from the Yucca Mountain project. The article also disclosed that the group’s membership includes paid supporters of the project as well as industries that would be involved in building it.
Bob Loux, the state’s point man on nuclear waste, described the alliance as a “rogues’ gallery” of Yucca Mountain supporters.
The city had justified its membership on the ground it would attract more businesses associated with federal projects. But high on the group’s project list is Yucca Mountain, just 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
The city’s membership starkly contradicted Nevada’s resolve to never regard the proposed multibillion-dollar nuclear dump as an economic bonanza.
Although Las Vegas has seen the light about this group, North Las Vegas remains a member, even though its City Council has passed a resolution condemning Yucca Mountain. It should honor that resolution and the state’s need for unity on this issue by also canceling its membership.