USA Today had a great article last Friday regarding the politics surrounding the proposed nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain. As I'm sure most of you know, Harry Reid is a U.S. Senator from Nevada who became Senate Majority Leader when the Democrats gained power. As majority leader, Reid essentially has the power to determine which bills make it to a vote on the floor and which don't. Reid has publicly stated that Yucca Mountain "is dead. It'll never happen." As long as he is in office I tend to believe him. To his credit, Senator Reid is working on legislation will take money from current oil and gas tax subsidies and use that money to sponsor renewable energy technology development. However, I think it is short-sided to so pointedly eliminate a major alternative available to the U.S. because of one man's political position.
Now, another example of politics is getting in the way of the Yucca Mountain project. All three of the top Democrat presidential candidates (Obama, Clinton, and Edwards), aggressively spoke out against the Yucca Mountain project during their campaigning for the Nevada primary election. Edwards had previously voted in favor of the project twice. As with their collective support of farming subsidies for corn-based ethanol during the Iowa primary campaigns, these candidates are sacrificing good national policy in order to make promises to small constituencies in attempts to get elected.