Nevada gaming, tourism leaders come out against Yucca Mountain
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The top leaders of Nevada’s gaming industry have joined in a letter urging the U.S. Congress to end plans to try to license and open Yucca Mountain.
“The impacts nuclear waste could have on our visitors and our employees would unquestionably have severe negative implications for Nevada’s future and economic growth,” the letter states.
The letter was sent Monday to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. It was signed by the heads of the state’s largest gaming organizations, including Matt Maddox of Wynn Resorts, Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands and James Murren of MGM Resorts International. as well as Nevada Resorts Association President Virginia Valentine and Steve Hill, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.In his fiscal 2020 budget blueprint, unveiled last month, President Donald Trump called for Congress to provide $116 million in federal funds to restart the licensing process to build a national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, according to a Monday report from The Nevada Independent, which first reported news of the letter. Congress has reportedly not provided any funding for the project since fiscal 2012, despite calls for funding in Trump’s two previous budget proposals. In all, top executives of eight gaming companies and the heads of four business and trade organizations signed the letter, saying they wanted to “express our vehement opposition to the inclusion of funding for the Yucca Mountain” and to “ensure that Yucca Mountain remains part of Nevada’s past and that nuclear waste is never stored anywhere near the world’s entertainment capital and Nevada’s treasured public lands,” according to a Monday story from CDC Gaming Reports. The letter points out Yucca Mountain is just 90 miles from Las Vegas, a tourist destination that in 2018 welcomed more than 42 million visitors and is home to 2.2 million residents.
The letter refers to Yucca Mountain as a “relic of the past” saying any attempt to resurrect it would “directly imperil the health, safety and economic future of our great state.”
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.