OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement responding to today’s federal court of appeals decision that the lawsuit concerning Yucca Mountain’s designation as a national nuclear waste disposal can move forward:
“We’re gratified that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in response to our petition, is again taking control of this case and putting it back on track. This is another step forward to prevent the federal government from permanently ending the process to develop the nation’s only Congressionally approved, high-level nuclear waste repository.”
In 2002, Congress designated Yucca Mountain as the nation’s sole current repository site for deep geologic disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The State of Washington has strenuously argued that removing Yucca Mountain as the nation's primary nuclear waste repository would significantly set back clean-up at Hanford and put at risk both the state’s environment and its people.
Washington and other parties filed a lawsuit stating the U.S. Department of Energy has no authority to scrap the Yucca Mountain plans. The case has been delayed since last summer when DOE requested that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., wait until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission consider a related order.
Washington state and other parties filed a motion in late September to lift the stay then sent a follow-up letter to the court on Dec. 7. In reaction, the court lifted the stay today and granted the state’s request that the case be put back on an expedited timeline so a decision can be made quickly.
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