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Congress to hold hearing on reviving Yucca Mountain nuclear site

United States Capitol (Photo: Diego Delso / CC BY-SA 3.0)

A subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a hearing next week to discuss legislation that would revive the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site.

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois, announced the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on environment will discuss "practical reforms to the nation's nuclear waste management policy" on Wednesday, April 26.

The legislation discussion draft, tentatively called the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, would reserve about 147,000 acres in Nye County for the repository.

According to a press release, the discussion draft will "facilitate feedback from stakeholders" for updating nuclear waste policy, though a witness list was not available as of Wednesday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Brian Sandoval said no one from the governor's office is scheduled to take part in the hearing.

In a statement released Thursday, Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen said he wrote a letter to Shimkus asking to testify, saying it would be "outrageous" if no one from the Silver State takes part.

"It is disconcerting that once again, forces outside Nevada are trying to pawn off their problems by dumping nuclear waste in our state," wrote Kihuen, whose district includes the Yucca Mountain site.

Yucca has become a hot-button issue for many of Nevada's elected officials since President Donald Trump revealed he would ask for $120 million to revive the project in his proposed 2018 budget.

The House bill isn't the only effort to revive Yucca. The state of Texas has filed a suit in federal court that would restart licensing, though Nevada has filed a motion to be included as a party.

Other members of Nevada's Congressional delegation have joined them in opposition to the project. Sen. Dean Heller reiterated during a town hall in Reno and speech at the state Legislature that he would work to block the project.

"This hearing, and the legislation proposed by Congressman Shimkus, may satisfy his donors, but Nevada is not for sale," Democratic Rep. Dina Titus said in a statement Wednesday.

NOTE: This report has been updated with a statement released Thursday, April 20, by Rep. Ruben Kihuen.

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