Closing Of Yucca Mountain Raises Discrepancy Between Energy Department And Congress

By Monique Cala University of New Mexico/Talk Radio News Service During testimony Wednesday before the House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu defending the process by which his FY 2011 budget request of $28.4 billion will help the U.S. lead in the ‘21st century global economy.' “It’s going to create new clean energy jobs, expand the frontiers of science, reduce nuclear dangers, and help curb the carbon pollution that threatens our planet,” said Chu. Concerns were raised about the future of Yucca Mountain and the creation of a second nuclear waste site. “We have known for years that a second repository was going to be needed, but that shouldn't make us throw away billions of tax and rate payer dollars dedicated to building the first one,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.). “Scientific opinion was that Yucca Mountain was a good choice. From where I am sitting, the scientific consensus hasn't changed one bit, nor has the expressed will of Congress or this subcommittee. It is politics that has changed.” Chu responded that due to the Obama Administration’s intent to close down Yucca Mountain, his department had began to look at the expense of closing the waste site. Other members of the committee, including Frelinghuysen, explained to Chu that his budget plan is merely a ‘request’ until Congress approves it. “Mr. Secretary let me perfectly clear, there will be no authority granted unless Congress grants it,” said Frelinghuysen. “The dollars we appropriate are not yours, nor the President’s, but belong to the people we represent. This committee by law will determine how they are spent.”

By Monique Cala
University of New Mexico/Talk Radio News Service

During testimony Wednesday before the House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu defending the process by which his FY 2011 budget request of $28.4 billion will help the U.S. lead in the ‘21st century global economy.’

“It’s going to create new clean energy jobs, expand the frontiers of science, reduce nuclear dangers, and help curb the carbon pollution that threatens our planet,” said Chu.

Concerns were raised about the future of Yucca Mountain and the creation of a second nuclear waste site.

“We have known for years that a second repository was going to be needed, but that shouldn’t make us throw away billions of tax and rate payer dollars dedicated to building the first one,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.). “Scientific opinion was that Yucca Mountain was a good choice. From where I am sitting, the scientific consensus hasn’t changed one bit, nor has the expressed will of Congress or this subcommittee. It is politics that has changed.”

Chu responded that due to the Obama Administration’s intent to close down Yucca Mountain, his department had began to look at the expense of closing the waste site.

Other members of the committee, including Frelinghuysen, explained to Chu that his budget plan is merely a ‘request’ until Congress approves it.

“Mr. Secretary let me perfectly clear, there will be no authority granted unless Congress grants it,” said Frelinghuysen. “The dollars we appropriate are not yours, nor the President’s, but belong to the people we represent. This committee by law will determine how they are spent.”

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News updates from on and around Capitol Hill.

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