Las Vegas Sun

January 31, 2015

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Sun Editorial:

Congressman’s claims about Yucca Mountain nothing but rubbish

Rep. Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican who came to prominence by yelling “You lie!” at the president, recently chided his party’s presidential candidates for backing away from the federal plans to store nuclear waste in Nevada during their Las Vegas debate.

In a piece published Saturday in the Chronicle in Augusta, Ga., a town near his South Carolina district, Wilson urged voters in his state, which holds a presidential primary early next year, to press the candidates on the issue and made a number of specious claims to try to rally support for the failed project.

Like many dump supporters over the years, he has misrepresented the facts and missed the point. Yucca Mountain is a disastrous plan fiscally, scientifically and environmentally. It was conceived out of politics, not science, and it has been a money pit that has consumed billions of dollars with nothing to show for it but a hole in the ground. The plans would, over the next several decades, send thousands of tons of nuclear waste through the nation’s communities, past schools and over waterways, exposing generations of Americans to the possibility of nuclear accidents. And then the waste would be shoved in Yucca Mountain, which isn’t a mountain but a porous, volcanic ridge in an area prone to earthquakes.

Whatever could go wrong?

Unfortunately, there are people like Wilson who spin a fantasy about the plans, claiming they are safe and even saying that Yucca Mountain has the support of “local communities in Nevada” and would provide thousands of jobs.

Please. A majority of Nevadans are against the dump and have stood firm against it for years. We haven’t seen any evidence that there would be many jobs, but if there were any economic benefit it would be outweighed by the danger the dump poses. And those dump supporters in Nevada who argue the state should negotiate for compensation should pay attention to Wilson’s comments: He’s against such a plan and even chided former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for suggesting compensation “as though jobs and investment in the state of Nevada are not enough.”

In other words, take the nuclear waste and enjoy it.

Wilson’s arguments are ludicrous and insulting. For example:

• He says without Yucca Mountain the nuclear power industry can’t continue to build plants, but that’s not true. There are safe and cost-effective ways to store waste on site that plants are already using.

• He complained that President Barack Obama’s decision to end the Yucca Mountain, project “condemns” South Carolina and other states to store the waste that was generated in them. However, he has no problem condemning Nevada, which has no nuclear power plants, unlike South Carolina.

• Wilson has tried to position himself as a champion of states’ rights, yet he supports Yucca Mountain. The federal government and Congress have tried to force Nevada to take the waste for years over the state’s objections. So why isn’t Wilson concerned about trampling of the 10th Amendment and Nevada’s rights?

The bottom line is that the Yucca Mountain project is a terrible project that can’t withstand any serious scrutiny. Supporters like Wilson have made many disingenuous arguments that have made them look hypocritical.

If it is such a good deal, why doesn’t South Carolina take it?

Because it’s a bad plan at every level.


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  1. I say let Representative Wilson (R-SC) continue to blabber his nonsense. He's of no consequence in this whole matter anyways.

    But he ends up helping Nevada though. I want him adding fuel to the fire to embolden South Carolina officials to spend more and more and more and more time and money to try to make Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) happen.

    After constant failure contributing to more their time wasted and money continually going down the drain with nothing to show for it on frivolous lawsuits, then and ONLY then will people outside of Nevada start to come to realize YMP is dead.

    Hit them in the wallet. And hit them hard with expensive court costs, stupid studies and ridiculous propaganda. I also want to see more of their time wasted in courts. Tie up the judges. Get those court reporters typing overtime and producing voluminous amounts of paperwork. Hire a virtual battalion of lawyers. Keep that litigation going. Get that money flowing towards something that will only end up a pipedream.

    Nevada says no. And no STILL means no.

    We don't want Nevada turned into a nuclear waste toilet receptacle. And NO other State in this beloved United States of America can tell us to willingly take the most dangerous substance known to mankind and bury it in the ground, not for a little while, but FOREVER. We are not that stupid that we want to follow a course of action that will effect future generations of Nevadas for ETERNITY.

    South Carolina CANNOT and WILL NOT tell us what to do.

    We continue the fight. Representative Wilson is the stupid one in this whole matter though. He plays into our hands by whipping up people into a frenzy that will only end up wasting more time and spending even more South Carolina money. On something that is not going to happen.

  2. South Carolina has historically been the most vocal and supportive of States Rights.

    On December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to declare its secession from the United States.

    "In 1832, States' rights theory was put to the test in the Nullification Crisis, after South Carolina passed an ordinance that nullified federal tariffs."

    "The South Carolina legislature declared the Tariffs unconstitutional. John C. Calhoun had formed a political party in South Carolina explicitly known as the Nullifier Party." Calhoun continually defended the independence of South Carolina from Federal Regulations.

    To have Joe Wilson from South Carolina try to direct the activities of another State through the Federal Government is pure hypocrisy to the greatest extent.

    "You Lie" Joe Wilson, You Lie.

  3. The guy is from South Carolina. South Carolina is a state which -- at its best -- has existed half in the world and half in fantasy and -- at its worst totally captured by its own fantasies: witness the firing on Ft. Sumpter which was going to save the Southern Way of Life (Slavery) and the American Constitution by replacing the central government with a Confederation of States. That is South Carolina -- at once reviling the central government while living off of it.

    Yucca Mountain is "safe" -- if you don't want to live in reality where safe means that it has to keep the waste in place for one million years until its' radioactivity decays to background levels and you get get all of the hot stuff by truck and rail from all over the country to the storage site without any accidents. That is just another South Caroline pipe dream. Just as the key assumption that Yucca Mountain is safe because it will never rain there is a fantasy because, as the earth wobbles back on its' axis, even the Sahara will become a lush grassland again, and then desert again, then lush again, then a desert again ... in a cycle that repeats itself about every 20,000 years. In the million years Yucca will have to contain that nuclear waste, we will see 50 of those cycles of dry to wet to dry to wet ... You can look around Nevada and see that the evidence of those climate cycles. But that would be reality -- and South Carolina is about fantasy.

  4. As Nevada doesn`t need jobs more power to you. Shut it down.

  5. I really don't know how the population feels about this so what follows is only MY opinion, nothing more.

    Yucca Mtn. project was promised to power companies all over the country. So, many of them are storing waste in parking lots in deteriorating containers.

    Here in Las Vegas, Yucca Mtn. provided 2000 jobs and would have provided many more in the future. Quality jobs, not minimum wage jobs. So, 2000 people were let go and never to be replaced.

    It's not unique to Nevada but Americans in general are NIMBYs about everything. In the meantime, we fall further and further behind the rest of the world and we in Nevada enjoy fabulous unemployment rates and all that goes with it.

    Billions were invested to assure that Yucca Mtn. would be a safe, secure place. Our politicians, and the Casino owners, spread ludicrous lies that trucks seeping radioactivity would be driving through our neighborhoods, that our water supply would be poisoned and that God didn't want this placed in Nevada.

    The only winners were, indeed, the politicians and the Casinos. We re-elected a total dork (admittedly, the competition was as crazy as a bedbug) and the Casinos are able to suppress wages and working conditions to squeeze a little more money out for their billionaire owners.

    OK, like I said, it's my opinion. Don't bother attacking me. I've lived here for 40 years and I have as little, and as much, to lose as you do.

  6. Hey, Ace...

    Got any more good ones?
    You are too funny!!!'d ya like the GREAT NIGHT for 'the peeps' last night?
    Wasn't that GREAT!?!
    Well, gotta go pop some corn for tonight's 'debate'...
    looking for a Cain Mutiny from Mittens, Michelle or Uncle Newtie...someone's gotta take that ball & run with it!
    Always appreciate the way the TeaNut Repub's take each other apart...good sports!

  7. Actually yucca mountain sits on a fault line. That in itself disqualifies this site as safe storage. I do have a logical safe alternative location for this $h:: how about Joe Wilson's mouth?