Even more troubling than the politically-based nature of the decision to target Nevada alone for high-level waste, is the fact that to help insure approval of the site, Congress undermined key provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) with respect to the Yucca Mountain project. NWPAA as enacted limited the scope and extent of the evaluation of potential environmental impacts normally required in an environmental impact statement under NEPA. Specifically, NWPAA exempts the Yucca Mountain environmental impact statement from consideration of:
In other words, Congress has significantly diminished the inherent value of conducting an environmental impact statement, in an apparent attempt to rubber stamp NEPA approval on the project.
The proposed Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1997, commonly known as the "Mobile Chernobyl Bill," contains similar provisions gutting environmental laws and regulations with respect to nuclear waste transportation and storage. Knowing that this project could never meet radiation guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory agencies charged with protecting our health and safety, Congress has included in the bill broad, sweeping exemptions from local, state, or federal environmental oversight of the transportation and storage process. For example, it prevents EPA from creating environmental standards governing the Yucca Mountain site, and raises limits on the amount of radiation in the drinking water near Yucca Mountain to a level 25 times higher than that at any other site.
We believe it is unfair and immoral for Congress to deal with the problem of nuclear waste by dumping it on a politically weak state in a site that is technically and scientifically unsuited for the task. We advocate storage of the waste on-site until a safe, equitable and scientifically sound solution to the problem can be found.
Yucca Mountain Site Characterization and EIS Timelines
* Some confirmatory testing will continue during these phases
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