Appeals Court: Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site Decision Delay - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Appeals Court: Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site Decision Delay Unlawful

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Washington, D.C. -

A federal appeals court says the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been violating federal law by delaying a decision on a proposed nuclear waste dump in Nevada.

By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the commission to complete the licensing process and approve or reject the Energy Department's application for a waste site at Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

In a sharply worded opinion, the court said the nuclear agency was "simply flouting the law" when it allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the proposed waste site near Las Vegas. The action goes against a federal law designating Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear waste repository.

The court said the president can't ignore a congressional mandate simply because of policy objections.

Tuesday, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) says he was pleased with the federal appeals court ruling saying the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been violating federal law by delaying a decision on a proposed nuclear waste dump in Nevada.

By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the NRC to complete the licensing process and approve or reject the Energy Department's application for a waste site at Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

"I applaud the Court's calling out the Obama Administration for their flagrant violation of the law.  The court rightly rebuked the Obama Administration for delaying a decision on this important national security matter.

"Yucca Mountain remains the appropriate nuclear waste storage site. In addition, some of the first nuclear waste to be sent to Yucca Mountain would come from Savannah River Site. Today's ruling is positive news for South Carolina and our nation."

Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statement in response to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling, which ordered the Yucca Mountain licensing application to proceed:

"The Obama Administration has developed a habit of disregarding the law. Today's decision by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is a tremendous victory for our nation as it holds the President accountable for abiding by the decision Congress made to designate Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear waste repository.  South Carolina rate-payers have invested over $1.3 billion dollars into Yucca Mountain over the last thirty years and we deserve to see this project completed," Congressman Wilson said.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson issued the following response to Tuesday's today's ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordering the Yucca Mountain licensing application to go forward:

"This decision reaffirms a fundamental truth: the President is not above the law. His administration cannot pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore.

"The D.C. Court of Appeals ruling speaks volumes by including the following statements:

"...The Commission is simply flouting the law. (Page 5)

"...We now grant the petition for writ of mandamus against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (Page 5)

"...The President may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections. (Page 6)

"...The Nuclear Regulatory Commission must promptly continue with the legally mandated licensing process. (Page 22)

"Congress passed laws designating Yucca Mountain as America's nuclear lock box. The American people have paid over $31 Billion (including interest) towards that project. The federal government has our money, while we still have to deal with their nuclear waste.

"The site work has already been done. A six mile tunnel to nowhere exists in the middle of Yucca Mountain to enable this project to be completed as quickly as possible for the safety of the American people and our nuclear waste."
 

Click here to read the full court order. (PDF reader required)

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