Democrats jump on Kavanaugh’s Yucca Mountain ruling

Yucca Mountain tunnel
A 1995 photo of the underground exploratory studies facility at Yucca Mountain. (Photo from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.)
Yucca Mountain tunnel
A 1995 photo of the underground exploratory studies facility at Yucca Mountain. (Photo from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.)

No stranger to rocks and hard places, Sen. Dean Heller may be facing a new campaign issue: the perennial political chess piece and proposed nuclear waste dump site that is Yucca Mountain.

Washington Post piece published Wednesday points out that Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2013 penned a 2-1 majority court opinion stating the Nuclear Regulatory Committee was “simply flouting the law” by refusing to consider a plan for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. (Ironically, the judge who dissented in that decision was Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, whose confirmation hearing Heller and other Republicans stonewalled to death in 2016.)

Heller has already voiced his support of Kavanaugh and appeared alongside Trump when he announced the nomination.

Nevada residents and politicians overwhelmingly disapprove of storing nuclear waste in the mountain. Heller has been a vocal opponent. His Democratic challenger, Rep. Jacky Rosen, also opposes it.

The Nevada Democratic Party and the Rosen campaign have already begun drawing attention to the issue by emailing out the story.

Heller’s spokesperson told WaPo that Kavanaugh’s court ruling was not tantamount to taking a position on Yucca Mountain, but merely an opinion on the rule of law. Meanwhile, Heller’s campaign today doubled down on the idea that Heller is the best bet for keeping nuclear waste out of Nevada:

Heller is reportedly scheduled to meet one-on-one with Kavanaugh Thursday.

April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. April currently serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas pro chapter. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and three mutts.


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