Fire and Waste

If my math’s correct, something like two million Nevada acres have burned during 2017. So far, the state’s seen nearly 660 wildfires this season – if one can truly say there’s actually a ‘wildfire season’ anymore.

Early on, Nevada led the nation in most fires because of the Bureau of Land Management complex of wildfires blazing in and around the Elko County area. And wouldn’t you know it, 70 percent of that two million acres has ‘belonged’ to the BLM.

The last time Nevada had such a ‘hot’ season was 11 years ago, only 1.3 million acres burned that year. And again, the majority of those fires happened on land that the BLM manages, proving there’s a lot of truth to the snarky saying, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.”

Meanwhile, Nevada’s preparing to go to war once again with the Department of Energy over the ‘Yucca Mountain Project.’ If licensing resumes the state plans to “fully adjudicate” about 250 separate challenges to the Energy Department’s license application for Yucca Mountain and the data underpinning it.

It’s been 30 years since Congress named Yucca Mountain as the nation’s sole site for a planned nuclear waste repository and environmentalist’s, guided by politicians like Harry Reid, have been battling the project claiming that a third of all Nevadans opposed it. It’s hard to believe that so many people oppose it when you consider that Nye County, where Yucca Mountain is actually located, is one of the nine counties (out of 17) that’s passed resolutions calling for the licensing to resume and the science to be heard.

In January, Senators Dean Heller and Catherine Cortez Masto introduced the “Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act,” with the same legislation being filed in the House by Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen. The bills will force the DOE to get the consent of the governor, local governments and Native American tribal leaders before constructing a nuclear waste repository in any state.

However, the House recently moved ahead with a bill authorizing the use of $120 million in taxpayer monies for the DOE and another $30 million for the  Nuclear Regulatory Commission to start the process. However, the Senate — the federal legislative body farthest from the people they represent and there for the most out of touch – did not include repository funding in any of its appropriations bill.

We’re being forced to watch the state burn from federal neglect while so much money stands to be made (or lost) from nuclear waste. It’s much like watching someone run with knotted together shoe-strings.

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