|8:47 PM EDT||
John M. Shimkus, R-IL 19th
Mr. SHIMKUS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I want to thank my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee. I don't come down to the floor often. This is a special occasion and a special time to bring focus on Yucca Mountain.
As the investigation continues into the shutdown of Yucca Mountain, we have heard over and over again that the licensing application should move forward and let the science speak for itself.
The $10 million provided in the bill is a start but too low for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to do anything functional toward reviewing the licensing application. In fact, just a few years ago, they were receiving nearly $60 million for these efforts.
In addition, the Shimkus-Inslee amendment--it didn't officially get recorded that way, but that was our intent, that Jay Inslee, my friend from Washington State, would join me. The amendment adds $10 million to continue the Yucca Mountain license application. There is $10 million in the bill, and my amendment would take it to $20 million.
Our amendment is budget neutral and fully offset by taking funds from the DOE's departmental administration account. We are asking DOE to do more with less by making modest cuts to an account for salaries and expenses. And, again, I want to thank the Appropriations Committee for helping us find a way to move in this direction. Again I want to thank my colleague Mr. Inslee for supporting this amendment.
I have had a lot of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle talk to me about when are we going to have a vote on the floor to show our support for what we have done? What we have done historically, in 1982 the Nuclear Waste Policy Act was passed, 30 years, countless different administrations on both sides of the aisle, different control of the Chamber here, both parties.
This has been our consistent policy for 30 years. Now, with Japan and Fukushima Daiichi and part of the problem being high-level nuclear waste stored in pools, we have to have a centralized location. This amendment says let us finish the science to get to the final permit, and let that science be the judge. It's providing the money.
But I will tell you that we have high-level nuclear waste all over this country, and we need it in one centralized location. It has been our policy that that would be Yucca Mountain--an isolated area in Nevada, in the desert, 90 miles from Las Vegas. It's underneath a mountain, in the desert, in one of the most arid places in this country. If we can't store it there, we really can't store it anywhere. As you've heard from my colleagues already this evening, it is stored in locations we should
not have it.
Again, I really want to thank the Appropriations Committee for helping me through this process. We need a vote. I will call for a vote.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.