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Reno Gazette Journal: Want nuclear waste in Nevada? Join the National Popular Vote Compact
Sean Parnell • May 17, 2023

Will the Nevada Legislature vote to surrender the state’s presidential voting power to other states? The question is now before the State Senate in the form of the National Popular Vote interstate compact (NPV).

Before sidelining Nevada’s voice, it’s worth considering how the state benefits from the current system, in which presidential candidates come to Nevada, listen to its people and address issues Nevadans care about. Look no further than Yucca Mountain to understand how Nevada’s six electoral votes ensure that those seeking national office take Nevadans into account.

The plan to dump the nation’s nuclear waste in Nevada dates to 1987, when Congress directed the Department of Energy to focus on Yucca Mountain as a future nuclear waste depository. In 2002, Congress approved building the facility and plans were made to begin accepting nuclear waste at Yucca beginning in 2017. Throughout the process, most Nevadans were strongly opposed to becoming the nation’s dumping ground for nuclear waste.

Following the 2006 and 2008 elections, Nevada’s voice could no longer be ignored. First Harry Reid became Senate majority leader and vowed to block the project. Then Barack Obama vowed on the campaign trail to stop Yucca Mountain, running ads in Nevada criticizing John McCain for his support of it. Both Reid and Obama followed through and succeeded in preventing Yucca Mountain from accepting the rest of the country’s nuclear waste.

The Trump administration at first attempted to restart the Yucca Mountain project. But as the 2020 election drew near, it dawned on the president that he needed to care about Nevadans to have a chance at winning the state’s six electoral votes. In February 2020, he announced his opposition to shipping nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. Joe Biden, whose presidential ambitions dated back to at least 1987, has been a longtime foe of the Yucca Mountain project.

Read the full op-ed at the Reno Gazette Journal's website.