Wednesday, July 30, 2008

John 'Not In My Back Yard' McCain Brings His Yucca Support to Nevada

Senator John McCain today will bring his promise of four more years of President Bush's failed energy policies back to Nevada. The last time he was in the Silver State, McCain gave a 3,000 word speech on energy that didn't mention Yucca Mountain or solar power once. Instead, McCain focused on his newfound support for offshore oil drilling, which even he and President Bush admit will have only a "psychological" impact on gas prices. McCain's support for offshore drilling may not provide economic relief for working families, but it did open a flood of new support for McCain's campaign from the oil and gas industry.

McCain may be reluctant to detail his record on Yucca Mountain, but the facts are clear. Except for some election-year hedging during his two presidential campaigns, McCain has repeatedly been a champion of Yucca Mountain. In fact, despite his admitted concern about shipping nuclear material through Arizona McCain wants to build at least 45 new nuclear power plants and says dealing with spent nuclear fuel is a "NIMBY" problem that we must have "guts and the courage" to address.

"NIMBY: Not In McCain's Back Yard"

"During his 25 years in Congress, Senator McCain has been a part of America's energy problem by repeatedly voting against the kind of policies that would create green jobs in Nevada and break our dependence on fossil fuels," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney. "Now, McCain is promising more of the same by pandering to his new friends in the oil and gas industry and promising to store tons of spent fuel in Nevada, even though he's not comfortable shipping the material through Arizona on its way there. America's working families deserve new energy ideas, not more of the same failed policies that have cost us jobs, driven energy prices through the roof, and done nothing to make America less dependent on foreign oil."

The following is a fact sheet on McCain's support for Yucca Mountain:


McCain Has Consistently Voted to Approve Yucca Mountain As A Nuclear Waste Dump Site. In 2002, John McCain voted to approve a site at Yucca Mountain as a repository for nuclear and radioactive waste. After the vote, McCain said that storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain would answer "one of the most important environmental, health and public safety issues for the American people." In 2000, McCain voted to override the presidential veto of legislation that would establish a permanent nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. In 1997, McCain similarly voted to establish a repository at the Mountain. McCain voted yes on a similar bill in 1996. [2002 Senate Vote #167, 7/9/2002; The Arizona Republic, 7/10/2002; 2000 Senate Vote #88, 5/2/2000; 1998 Senate Vote #148, 6/2/1998; 1997 Senate Vote #42, 4/15/1997; 1996 Senate Vote #259, 7/31/1996; 1996 Senate Vote #256, 7/31/1996]

McCain: "I Am For Yucca Mountain." The Las Vegas Sun reported that in 2007 McCain told the Deseret News, "I am for Yucca Mountain. I'm for storage facilities. It's a lot better than sitting outside power plants all over America." [Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, NV), 5/28/08]
McCain: "I Believe That Yucca Mountain Is A Suitable Place For Storage." At a campaign event in Springfield, Pennsylvania, McCain said, "I believe that Yucca Mountain is a suitable place for storage and I know that there's controversy about it and lawsuits and all that. But shouldn't America, a country as smart and as wise as we are, be able to find a place to store spent fuel?" [CNN Live Feed (Springfield, PA), 3/14/08]

McCain Senior Adviser Holtz-Eakin Called Political Opposition To Yucca Mountain "Harmful To the U.S. Interests." "McCain criticized both Democrats for their opposition to Yucca Mountain. 'The political opposition to the Yucca Mountain storage facility is harmful to the U.S. interest and the facility should be completed, opened and utilized,' McCain adviser Holtz-Eakin said." [Reuters, 5/6/08]

McCain: "We Will Build At Least 45 New Nuclear Plants." In a speech in Denver, Colorado, McCain said, "We will develop more clean energy. Nuclear power is the most dependable source of zero-emission energy we have. We will build at least 45 new nuclear plants that will create over 700,000 good jobs to construct and operate them." [CNN Live Feed, Speech (Denver, CO), 7/7/08]

2008: Campaigning In Nevada, McCain Said He Could Be Compelled To Reverse Support For Storage Of Nuclear Waste At Yucca Mountain. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that "On the nuclear dump site about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, which most Nevadans oppose, McCain stressed the importance to national security of finding somewhere to store spent nuclear fuel currently at power plants across the country. But he indicated he could be persuaded to end his support for Yucca as the site. 'I will respect scientific opinion,' he said. 'The scientific opinion that I had up until recently was that Yucca Mountain was a suitable storage place.'" [Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV), 3/29/08]

1999: McCain Made Same Vague Promise To Consider Other Sites For Disposal To Nevadans Prior To His 2000 Run. On a trip to Nevada in February 1999, McCain met with key supporters in the gambling industry and the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Associated Press reported that McCain's votes to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain could hurt him among Nevada voters. According to AP, "McCain said he is willing to hear arguments on the issue of whether Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is suitable as the nation's nuclear waste repository, but he said the storage problem must be resolved." McCain also said, "I'm not expert enough to know if that's the place or not, but it's unconscionable to leave nuclear waste sitting around in facilities forever." [Associated Press, 2/17/1999]


MCCAIN 2008: Dealing With Spent Nuclear Fuel Is A "NIMBY" Problem, US Must Have The "Guts And The Courage." At an energy briefing in Santa Barbara, CA, McCain spoke about spent nuclear fuel and said, "But it's not a technological breakthrough that needs to be taken. It's a, it's a NIBMY problem. It's a NIMBY problem. We've gotta have the guts and the courage to go ahead and do what other countries are doing and they are reducing the pollution to our environment rather dramatically without any huge pain to anybody." [CNN Live Feed, Briefing (Santa Barbara, CA), 6/24/08]

MCCAIN 2007: Just Don't Ship it Through My Back Yard. "Interviewer: What about the transportation? Would you be comfortable with nuclear waste coming through Arizona on its way, you know going through Phoenix, on its way to uh Yucca Mountain? McCain (Shaking Head): No, I would not. No, I would not." [Nevada Newsmakers, May 2007)

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