WASHINGTON, D.C. - In spite of a Presidential veto threat, nuclear waste proponents are continuing their effort to force a vote on nuclear waste legislation.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, "On Friday, Senator Bryan and I were successful in holding our ground against scheduling a vote on the nuclear waste bill. But there is little doubt that pro-nuke forces are trying to muscle this legislation through the Senate, even if that means threatening millions of lives with watered down health and safety standards."
In October, President Clinton reaffirmed his commitment to veto any nuclear waste legislation which would not allow the EPA to set guidelines for radiation exposure level. The bill now in the Senate would give that authority to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"There are major safety questions a out this bill, including the fact that it would allow radiation risks to children that are six times higher than EPA standards for adults," Reid said. "We plan to attack this bill as bad legislation that would endanger lives, not only in Nevada, but in every place this deadly poison passes through on its way to Yucca Mountain. It also makes no sense to continue pushing a bill that the President has already said he will veto."
With Congress scrambling to finish its work for the year, including several spending bills, Reid hopes that a time crunch could aid Nevada's cause.
"We still have to finish work on several key-appropriations bills and the pressure is mounting for Congress to adjourn before mid-November. Threatening to disrupt the Senate's business in order to block a vote on nuclear waste may be the best weapon in our arsenal," Reid said.
Reid says he remains committed to using every trick in the book to prevent nuclear waste legislation from coming up for a vote in the Senate before the end of the current session.