Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Yucca Mountain and the Nevada Caucus

Apparently, it is possible to write a story about Nevada for a national audience which actually involves an important issue and totally ignores the usual stereotypes. Of course, that is not the story Kathleen Hennessey wrote yesterday.

Fortunately, there are reporters like Jean Chemnick of The Politico. In a story headlined "Nevada's New Political Wattage Alters Balance in Yucca Nuclear Fight" she actually manages to take an in depth look at an issue of importance to voters in Nevada and makes the connection as to how the Nevada Caucus will have an impact on this issue.

An excerpt:

Changes in Nevada's political clout and its congressional delegation's commitment to the issue have helped block Yucca over the years, Bryan said. In 1987, when Yucca was singled out as the sole site to be studied for a high-level nuclear repository, the state had a congressional delegation of four. In contrast, Washington and Texas, which also had sites on the final list, had big delegations and even bigger players: Tom Foley, D-Wash., the House majority leader at the time, and Jim Wright, D-Texas, the House speaker.

Times have changed. Nevada has three House members and stands to gain one other seat after 2010. More important, it has Harry Reid, the new Senate majority leader. He has said he will block any pro-Yucca legislation.

The state's new early Democratic presidential caucus also doesn't hurt its cause. Candidates -- especially Democrats -- who have campaigned in Nevada have always had to pass the Yucca test. Now with the state's new role in choosing the Democratic nominee, no Democrat can afford to be pro-Yucca. Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack have stated their total or conditional opposition to the project. Their Democratic rivals, all of whom are slated to visit Carson City this month, for Wednesday's Democratic candidate forum or individually, will find it difficult to do well in the state without taking a similar position.

I recommend you read the whole story here.

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