Barack Obama on Yucca Mountain Then and Now
by truthteller2007, Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 05:24:49 PM EST
"In short, the selection of Yucca Mountain has failed, the time for debate on this site is over, and it is time to start exploring new alternatives for safe, long-term solutions based on sound science."
That is Barack Obama in a letter he submitted to Senators Boxer and Reid on 30 OCT 2007 regarding a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository. Although Obama was not a member of the Committee, the future Presidential candidate felt obliged to pen a letter to the Senate Majority Leader and the Chairwoman of the Committee for reasons that were wholly political.
His future opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton, is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and she was present at the hearing. Her position on the matter was clear and unequivocal: "Yucca Mountain is not a safe place to store spent fuel from our nation's nuclear reactors."
It is a position she has maintained for many years. Indeed, she voted against the authorization of the development of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain on 9 July 2002. She also issued a press release after she cast that courageous vote.
Obama also had the opportunity to oppose the nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain in 2002, when the Illinois state Senate considered an instrument entitled Illinois State Senate Resolution 342 on 18 APR 2002. According to the synopsis, SR0342 "[u]rges Congress to sustain President Bush's affirmative decision on Yucca Mountain's suitability as a permanent federal repository for high-level radioactive materials." Although Obama was present when the bill was considered on the floor of the Illinois state Senate, he did not voice any objections. As a result, SR0342 was adopted with the unanimous consent of Barack Obama and the entire Illinois state Senate. I quote the relevant passages on page 26 of this transcript of the proceedings of the Illinois state Senate:
Illinois state Senator Barack Obama had two opportunities to engage in a discussion on SR0342, but he remained silent. And he remained silent until 30 OCT 2007, when for political reasons the aspiring President informed Senators Boxer and Reid that he believed "the time for debate on this site is over." But what of the two opportunities he had to debate the Yucca Mountain resolution he and the Illinois state Senate adopted with unanimous consent in April 2002? Was not April 2002 the time for vigorous debate on President Bush's recommendation? Hillary Clinton certainly thought so. Obama, on the other hand, did not, for it was not politically expedient for the Illinois state Senator to oppose George Bush and the nuclear energy lobby of Illinois: his bid for the Presidency was not yet on the horizon, and Obama would have to rely on Illinois special interests such as Exelon, the atomic energy giant that donated $74,350 to Obama in 2004, in order to raise funds for his US Senate bid.But even more troubling is the $181,000 Obama has accepted from Exelon since he announced his Presidential bid. How can Obama protect Nevadans from the nuclear power lobby when he is financially beholden to the special interests who desire to dump their radioactive toxic waste at Yucca Mountain?