Rep. Dina Titus Testifies on Amendment to H.R. 3053 – Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act

Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman, I’ve been here many times, I’ve offered many amendments, They’ve never been put in order, but like Ohio, I do not give up so I’m back. The Georgia is coming out in you. Before I give my testimony though, I’d like to correct the record on a couple of things that were said by Mr. Shimkus. He says that all of Europe is looking at this kind of storage. Most of Europe does reprocessing, they have breeder reactors, It’s a whole different kind of system. So that’s not really accurate either. Also all the members of California who live along that San Andreas Fault are not supportive of this. Mike Thompson has spoken against it on several occasions. You keep talking about 130 132 sites, as was pointed out this goes through 329 districts. Could you check your mic? They’re undoubtedly saying it’s not on. Also it’s been pointed out that 15 billion dollars has already been spent on this. What’s gonna cost eighty to a hundred Billion more to bring it up to speed and complete it.So I would just ask you to keep those facts in mind. So now I’d like to address my amendment to this Nuclear Waste Policy Act. As you know I’ve said many times before this committee, it’s a flawed piece of legislation that doubles down on fake science and bad politics. When I testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee when it was first introduced last year, we presented the map that shows all the districts where it will travel, and we pointed out some of the many problems of the legislation. I’m not gonna run through the technical problems again, you’ve all heard of them. But one that is especially important to mention is that this bill increases the allowable amount of highly radioactive nuclear waste that would be put at Yucca Mountain by 37%. 37% above the levels that were authorized in the original law. And when we ask about the original law and this law and Mr. Shimkus says “oh well let some other places” NO. This law is only about Nevada and only about Yucca Mountain. In addition to the fact that there’s 37 percent more allowed, all these environmental impact studies that have been quoted are based not on the 37 percent increase, but on the original figure that would be allowed there. That includes a five volume safety evaluation report and other impact studies about the environment. So was this decision based on science? No. Was this decision based on Nevada raising his hand and say yeah, we want it like Mr. Session said before, “yeah Texas will take it, fine.” Let Texas take it and have it added. Nevada didn’t raise their hand and say we want it. This was a bad political decision plain and simple, so my amendment gets to the root of the problem. It’s not more studies, It’s not more looking at, it’s not pushing it down the road, it gets to the root of the problem. If we had done this initially, we wouldn’t have been spinning our wheels for the last 36 years and spending 15 billion dollars. What this does is act as a substitute to put into place consent based approach to the siting decision. This was the recommendation from the Blue Ribbon Commission. This is the way to go, this is included in the bill when it comes to interim storage requiring consent based to site interim storage. Why is it good enough for interim storage, and it’s not good enough for permanent storage? If you had everybody at the table you based it on consent, then it would have been solved many many years ago. I would just say that New Mexico has expressed an interest, Texas has expressed an interest. This problem can be solved if you go with consent based. So these states have even filed I would point out requests with a Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But they’ve been ignored because this train is going towards, Yucca Mountain. I would say take a look at the desire from these other states and make the decision based on that. So this amendment would solve the problem once and for all we can move down the road, we can find out the best place and the best way to store the waste. Right now, Yucca Mountain, you’ve heard all the bad science. It’s gone from being “is this a safe place” to “how to make it a safer place” Those are two very different questions and two very different goals. So what I would ask you to consider this amendment for the record. I would also like to enter into the record if you don’t mind Mr. Chairman, letters from League of Conservation Voters, American Gaming Association, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerc,e Las Vegas Convention Center, City of Las Vegas, American gaming, and over a hundred safety and environmental groups who have written in support of my legislation. Thank you, and I yield back.

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