As news of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team appointments come to light, environmental activists and energy experts across the nation, if not the world, are cringing with concern. Now, his advisers reportedly want to revive a plan to stow radioactive waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, a project stalled since the mid-1980s due to environmental concerns. The project has already been deemed too expensive and difficult to continue, and has not received federal funding for years. Trump’s aim to bring it back to life demonstrates what kind of president he will be.
The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project has been held at bay primarily due to the efforts of one man: Nevada Senator Harry Reid. Reid is now on the cusp of retirement and, in his absence, Trump’s advisers are looking for ways to steamroll the Senate into greenlighting the project. Yucca Mountain was initially selected as a nuclear waste storage site in 1987, but one administration after the next was unable to push it through to operation, in part due to the enormous environmental risk involved. President Barack Obama’s administration cut off funding to the project in 2010, finally declaring it an unworkable solution to the nation’s nuclear waste storage needs.
With an unapologetic anti-environmentalist primed to enter the White House, two people from Trump’s campaign say the Yucca Mountain project is again on the table. After tapping top climate denier Myron Ebell to lead his EPA transition team, Trump is upping the ante in his war on the environment by looking for ways to skirt the nation’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement as well as actively supporting projects that cause massive destruction, such as the Keystone XL pipeline (which could be resurrected under Trump’s watch). With each new development in the constructing of Trump’s administration, it becomes more clear that America’s next leader is intent on exploiting the environment for capital gain, no matter what Al Gore says to him.
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