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September 1, 2014

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John McCain thinking Yucca Mountain in Las Vegas visit?

Arizona senator stumps for Angle, but he has a key interest in this race

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Sam Morris

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally Friday night for Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle at the Orleans.

Angle-McCain Campaign Rally

Sharron Angle introduces Sen. John McCain at a campaign rally for Angle on Friday at the Orleans. Launch slideshow »

Sun Coverage

Sen. John McCain isn’t the first Arizona Republican to cross into the Silver State to stump for Sharron Angle. But for McCain, who strutted his Johnny-come-lately Tea Party stripes campaigning for the U.S. Senate challenger this weekend, the swing may not have just been about helping Republicans take the majority in Washington.

Even if Republicans fall short in the Senate, as expected, McCain has a quiet interest in keeping Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from winning: Reid is the only obstacle between McCain and his energy platform, which relies on construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

Over the years, Reid and McCain have been classic congressional “frenemies” around many issues, but Yucca Mountain has long divided them.

The senators go back a long way — to 1982, when they both were elected to the House, and 1986, when each was elected to the Senate — and so does their discord over this issue.

Reid and McCain cast their first vote on Yucca as freshman senators in 1987, over the 1988 omnibus spending measure that came to be known as the “Screw Nevada” bill because it designated Yucca Mountain as the only site for nuclear waste deposits. Reid voted against it.

The division reflects their diverging views on energy policy.

Reid has rested much of his hope for a legacy on the green jobs revolution, and much of his plan for Nevada’s slow climb out of recession on the back of high-paying jobs that solar, wind and energy projects have begun to create around Nevada.

Arizona barely has a renewable energy industry, which may be why McCain has voted against renewable subsidies as he’s supported them for nuclear development. Arizona’s only power plant at Palo Verde is the largest of the country’s 100-plus active nuclear energy facilities.

The last time Yucca came up for a vote, in 2009, the Senate, led by Reid, passed an energy spending bill that included scrapping Yucca Mountain as a dump site, by a vote of 85-9.

While McCain appeared to soften on the issue during his presidential campaign, given Obama’s strong opposition to it, he had flipped back by the July vote: He was one of the nine senators to oppose it.

Many lawmakers have suspected that Obama’s opposition to Yucca might waiver free of Reid’s influence. McCain told reporters during Congress’ last work period that Reid’s stubborn refusal to budge on Yucca Mountain was chiefly to blame for keeping the country’s nuclear industry in check.

Enter Angle, who wants to put Yucca back on the map as a reprocessing facility for nuclear waste.

McCain has not trumpeted his support for the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada, where the idea of waste dumping tends to turn off voters. But during McCain’s Friday night appearance in front of Angle’s Tea Partyers from Nevada, local issues like Yucca were not on the agenda.

Not that that issue would necessarily be a candidacy-killer in that crowd — attendees cheered a video shown during the event that depicted green jobs as a “scam.”

For McCain and Angle to share the same stage would have been unthinkable a year ago. Since his loss in the 2008 presidential race, McCain has been on a bender to solidify his conservative roots for his 2010 re-election bid.

Despite his timing, his route from “maverick” to not-maverick didn’t go through the Tea Party at first, which initially backed his primary opponent, J.D. Hayworth. But by the time McCain won his Aug. 25 primary, he had secured — with the help of his former running mate Sarah Palin — the Tea Party’s stamp of approval.

Yucca Mountain, and energy policy generally, isn’t the only place McCain could stand to gain without Reid in his way.

McCain has been campaigning against his colleagues in Nevada and California, where Barbara Boxer is facing former McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina.

Boxer has backed Reid in his anti-Yucca position. But were both to lose, it’s not just Yucca that gets opened for renegotiation.

McCain is taking aim at two of the Senate’s biggest and most senior backers of renewable energy and high-speed transportation, and two potential competitors for water resources.

California and Nevada have long been in discussions over renewable energy development: California has got the demand, and Nevada has got the space and resources to produce it. They also are talking transportation: the country’s first dedicated high-speed rail system is slated to be built between each state’s largest population center, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

But those projects rely on federal loan guarantees, many of which are set to expire by year’s end, meaning Congress has to pass legislation soon to keep those fledgling industries going.

And then there’s the Colorado River.

On the campaign trail in 2008, McCain called for a renegotiation of the Colorado River Compact of 1922, in which the seven states on the river’s route agreed to divide the river’s resources, to ensure no one state kept others downstream from being able to count on a steady water supply.

The river’s levels have been receding. But that doesn’t mean everybody’s jazzed about redrafting the compromise. In Nevada, state officials have warned against renegotiation, because Nevada could stand to see its cut of the river’s resources reduced if the whole deal is reworked.

That possibility inches closer toward likelihood without the clout of someone like Reid to balance out McCain.

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  1. John McCain is know as "The Songbird of Hanoi" for making 32 videos condemning the Vietnam War while a prisoner in Hanoi.

    This claim was made by Ron Paul, Texas Republican Congressman and Robert K. Dornan, a far right wing California Congressman who wrote the book "Shut Up Fag". (You can find this book at Amazon. Clearly, Dornan is no bleeding heart liberal).

    John McCain's arms were broken when he failed to pull them in close while ejecting from his airplane. His main line in Hanoi was "Treat Me Good, My Daddy is an Admiral", as he was. McCain got very good treatment compared with other prisoners.

    On his return from Vietnam, he divorced his wife because she walked funny due to a traffic accident in which she was severely injured.

    John McCain can be counted upon to take care of himself and look for the wealthiest blond he can find. It was his wealthy wife that put him into politics with money from her beer distributorship because McCain had nothing to say or do for anyone.

  2. There is a bright side to this. If Mrs. Angle wins Nevada gets to store nuclear (as the shrub would say "nucular) waste and Mrs. Angle can say that she brought some jobs to Nevada when here reelection campaign begins.

  3. John McCain has lost much credibility as a US Senator with the majority of America citizens. John McCain would do us all best by staying at home, I mean at his own home, his house, and not come out or speak at all.

  4. Turrialba...
    I respect your opinion, but John McCain has lost a ton of respect over the past few years, unfortunately, and he's earned that all by himself.
    Personally, I have always admired Senator McCain; even considered voting for him early in his Presidential bid against President Obama. However, ANYONE who could foist Gramma Palin on the American voting populace has completely lost his/her marbles.

    *and NO! We do NOT WANT YUCCA MTN. as the toilet for the countries NUKES.
    Thank GOD for Harry Reid's help in getting it shut down PERMANENTLY.

  5. Yucca Mountain is not shut down permanently. It is waiting in the wings. The nuclear by-products are currently being stored in various locations which are not as secure as an underground central storage facility with high security would be. The current sites of temporary storage could be targets for terrorist strikes. It's just a matter of time until we will choose a central, secure repository. Where will it be? Yucca Mountain was chosen as the best site. So, if not there, where? Many of us love our state very much! But, we must face reality. Yucca Mt. remains viable.

  6. I am all for bringing waste to Yucca mountain if all the interests that want to store their waste here pay dearly for it. Every person in the state of Nevada should benefit from it. We should have the best damn roads and highways in the nation, high speed rail ways to various southwestern states, backup water sources pumping water into Lake Mead from states up north, we should not have to pay a single dime in property tax, or any new taxes in the future either, and the cost to register vehicles should drop to $20 a vehicle like they do back southeast. If they are to open Yucca Mountain and start hauling other states' and power company's waste here, they damn better make it worth it and make it work for us first.

  7. The simple fact of the matter is that Senator Reid, during his whole time as Senator, has fought against Yucca Mountain Project (YMP). It is a bad idea, still is a bad idea and when it was first implemented, it was flung at Nevada when we were weak politically and we had no say in the matter.

    Now, we do. We don't want it.

    Senator Reid will continue to fight against it.

    Sharron Angle, if elected as our next Senator, will fight to make it happen, to try to achieve a cheap political victory...at the expense of the livelihood and welfare of every southern Nevada. And she will gladly reap money from it. She will sell out to the devil. As well as selling out all of our souls here in Las Vegas. For only a handful of money, but a lifetime of burden, suffering and misery.

    I STILL say this mid term Senate race tomorrow is based on local issues.

    My vote goes for Senator Reid. I prefer sanity over plain old tea.

  8. I thought Harry took credit for killing Yucca about three or four times. Isn't dead Harry?

    Take another victory lap.

  9. go home McCain - stay under your bed.

  10. Chunky says:

    Bringing in McCain is like bringing in a 1964 Oldsmobile to help you win the Indy 500 in 2010.

    Chunky respects him for his service and sacrifice to America and most of his conservative values but Mr. McCain is still living in 1964 in more ways than one. He's just way too out of touch with real world anything.

    Chunky was even more saddened that McCain was the best the Republican party could vet two years ago.

    As the New York Times wrote (paraphrased) a few days ago "Nevada Hold Your Nose and Cast Your Vote!"

    Uhgggg!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  11. 1) McCain benefits from a depression era monopoly concept for liquor distributing. His wife's beer distributorship is a government monopoly. I thought he believed in the "private sector."

    2) He wants to ban sports betting particularly for college games.

    3) He wants to eliminate the deduction for gambling loses against winnings.

    4) He is a paid stooge for the nuclear industry, like former Nevada Governor List.

    5) Did he hit the dice table???

    6) He dumped his first wife because she, a former bikini model, was disfigured in a car wreck. His new one had more money as well.

    7) What's that word you called your wife?

  12. John Mcain is basically a RINO who gets easily
    confused at time. His lackluster politica and refusal to take a stand cost the Republican party a chance in the last election. Prior to his picking Sarah Pahlin he was falling faster than his
    parachut did in Nam. While I respect his time in the military and the fact that he was a POW it
    does not exuse his lackluster performance in Congress. If he is representing his voters then all is good but if he is not following the Constution of the United States and the will of the people then it is time for him to go home. He will cause more harm to Sharron Angles bid to dispose Harry the Liberal from office.

  13. Again it shows how the Republican party wants a bunch of puppets (Angle and etc) so they (Republicans) can be the puppet masters and point the blame to their Puppets. Why doesn't McCain put the nucular waste in Arizona??? Watch out Nevada the wolves are at the door and Wacko Sharron will let them in.

  14. Someone posted the otherday, the reason for the Hoover Dam brige was built for trucks to bring in nuclear waste. Really think they built it for quicker access to/from NV/AZ? Although the project it's said to be "dead", I easilly see it being re-started. I'm not big on conspiracy therys (spelling bad). Yucca Mtn could still happen, the powers that be probally knew things were going to play out the way things are now, and it's just a matter of time till they open it. I'm not sure how I would feel about the site.

  15. Last time I checked McCain wasn't on the ballot here in Nevada.

    This is all idle and empty speculation and lousy journalism. Why not pick a Senator from any other state with a nuke plant and say the same thing when they turn up in Vegas for a campaign swing.

  16. I think that bridge is closed to haz-mat or it should be.

    Is Palo Verde Arizona's only power plant? I thought they had one at Fort Mojave and Tucson.

  17. Yucca Mountain as a hazardous waste dump site? I've heard both Sharron Angle and John McCain say things that make me think they support such a plan.

    In that context, I wanted to point out that in 2010 the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (CDTSC) recently approved a property owner removing 40 double tractor trailer loads of depleted uranium contaminated soil from a property in Los Angeles County.

    The trucks were headed for a nuclear dump site in Utah.

    The unmarked double tractor trailer trucks drove right through Las Vegas, on US Route 5. What if one of those trucks had crashed, and spilled the nuclear contaminated soil all over the freeway?

    What kind of disruption of business on the Strip, and thereby the driving engine of our local economy, would occur in the event of a spill of nuclear contaminated soil, or for that matter other highly hazardous waste?

    Is anyone letting Metro know these trucks are coming through?

    Remember that Los Angeles is the site of the most intensely nuclear contaminated property in the south west, Boeing's Santa Susana Field Lab in the hills above Canoga Park and Simi Valley. Those who have lived in L.A. might know it as Rocketdyne. The Department of Energy and NASA have agreed to remove what is likely to be thousands of truckloads of contaminated soil from that property, with even more thousands of truck loads to come of the radioactive variety once CDTSC and Boeing settle their differences.

    Will more trucks of nuclear contaminants and extremely hazardous substances come our way if Sharron has her way?

    Just asking.

    P.S. If you see a double tractor trailer soil hauler on the 5 or the 15, keep your car or van away from it !

  18. Article says: " ..Arizona's only power plant at Palo Verde..." must mean "only nuclear power plant" because Arizona has 4 Hydro plants, six coal plants, about 16 natural gas plants and 1 nuclear plant the biggest in the USA as the article states.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energ...

  19. What hypocrites they are, McCain and Angle. McCain has several houses all over the country - how many did they say when he ran for president? He is filthy rich from his years of representing the big-money interests including the oil industry, and let's not forget his involvement in the savings-loan scandal in the 1980's. And they are hitting on Sen. Reid for his condo in D.C.? McCain is an opportunist and he sold his soul years ago. The Reagans turned their backs on him when he divorced his disabled wife to marry the barbie doll. He'll do anything to advance his own interests. If it would benefit McCain to kill Yucca Mountain forever and support solar and wind power, he would have been here campaigning for Sen. Reid. And the worst thing McCain ever did to this country is inflict us with Sarah Palin.