President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that he has head Nevada on Yucca Mountain and his administration is committed to “exploring innovative approaches.”
The tweet stopped short of killing the plan to store nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain site in Nye County.
Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who heads Trump’s campaign committee in Nevada, gave an enthusiastic tweet praising Trump.
“Mr. President - THANK YOU! It was great spending time with you this weekend. We are so fortunate that you listened to us. #YuccaMountain” Laxalt tweeted.
In December 1987 Congress designated Yucca Mountain as the site for a nuclear repository. The site faced strong resistance from most Nevada politicians. President Barack Obama stopped the license process for the program in 2010.
Trump has hinted while touring with then Sen. Dean Hellerin 2018 he supported closing Yucca Mountain, but was contradicted by Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Perry told Congress in March 2019 he supported putting nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.
“We have to find a solution,” Perry told Congress. “Thirty-nine states as repositories is not an appropriate solution.”
On Wednesday at about 2:15 p.m., Trump tweeted this:
“Nevada, I hear you on Yucca Mountain and my Administration will RESPECT you! Congress and previous Administrations have long failed to find lasting solutions – my Administration is committed to exploring innovative approaches – I’m confident we can get it done!”
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto responded:
“@realDonaldTrump I look forward to working with you on this critical issue for Nevada and ensuring your budget doesn’t include any funding to restart the failed Yucca Mountain project that a majority of Nevadans reject, regardless of party.”
U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, whose district includes Yucca Mountain, said Yucca Mountain will never be reauthorized while he is in office.
"The hard work of the #Nevada Delegation has clearly put pressure on the White House, as evidenced by the President’s newfound commitment to finding alternatives," Horsford tweeted.
Attorney General Aaron Ford joined in:
“Mr. President, Nevada’s voice on this has been consistent and unified. We thank you for listening.”
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid declared Yucca Mountain dead.
"Yucca Mountain is dead and will remain dead," Reid tweeted. "This has been true for a long, long time. Donald Trump finally realizing this, changing his position and trying to take credit for its demise will not change that fact. I’m glad he has finally seen the light."
Presidential Candidate Joe Biden wondered which Trump statement on Yucca Mountain the public should believe.
“My dad used to say ‘don't just tell me what you value, show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value.’ Well, Mr. President, your budget included $116 million to restart the Yucca Mountain process," Biden said in a statement "That means a lot more to Nevadans than more of your empty promises on Twitter. The only promise worth making to the people of Nevada is one that ensures absolutely no dumping of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. Under a Biden Administration there would be absolutely zero dumping of nuclear waste in Nevada.”
Copyright KOLO-TV 2020