Officials join Bryan in praising Yucca Mountain water permit denial

Editor's note: This article is being reprinted today because a portion of it was accidentally omitted from Friday's editions.

Gov. Kenny Guinn and Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa joined Thursday the list of Nevada officials praising the state engineer for denying water permits needed to build and operate Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

Their comments follow those by Sens. Richard Bryan and Harry Reid, both D-Nev.

State Engineer Mike Turnipseed issued his decision Wednesday to deny federal applications to pump groundwater for the dump site.

The U.S. Department of Energy has been trying for a decade to build a dump for the nation's high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain 90 miles north of Las Vegas.

Guinn said he was pleased with the determination that the site is detrimental to the public well being.

"The most important aspect of this decision is that it was made independently and on the basis of science with no political influence from me or anyone else," said Guinn.

Turnipseed based the decision on the determination by the Nevada Legislature that high-level nuclear waste should not be stored in the state because of its danger.

Del Papa also praised the decision, saying it backs up the legislative prohibition on storing waste in the state.

The Energy Department had applied for 430 acre-feet of water a year to build and operate the dump site. Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects opposed the applications based on the threat to the public interest in Nevada.

"We are very pleased with this decision and find the state engineer's ruling to be well-reasoned and supportable under Nevada water law," she said. "It is critical that the state maintain control over its vital water resources."

The decision comes on the heels of efforts by Reid and Bryan to convince their colleagues to help once again in blocking efforts to force the dump on Nevada.

They outlined their concerns about the health and safety of Yucca Mountain and the dangers of transporting waste to Nevada for storage in a letter to every other senator earlier this week.

President Clinton has promised again to veto the bill if it passes Congress, but Nevada's delegation has to raise enough support to block an override vote. They have managed to do so, holding override support to less than two-thirds of the Senate for several sessions of Congress.


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