Senator Dean Heller is in a political war with Republicans over the reopening of Yucca Mountain, a nuclear waste repository situated 90 miles off Las Vegas. The political fight could have come at the right time for Sen. Dean Heller as he bids to woo voters and show his independence. The Nevada senator is the only GOP senator looking to be re-elected in a state that Hillary Clinton won during the 2016 US presidential election. By confronting Trump’s administration over the nuclear waste repository, Sen. Dean Heller has a great opportunity to demonstrate that he is ready to defend his state. The White House understands far too well that Nevada senator will stand by his home state, with the November elections just around the corner.
However, Sen. Dean Heller would want to avoid being seen as one of president Trump’s diehard GOP critics as this could jeopardize his chances of winning in November. One political veteran is saying, Heller, opposing Trump’s administration on Yucca Mountain will not dissuade Trump’s supporters from voting for him. The veteran added that Trump’s supporter in Heller’s home state, are not bothered about Yucca Mountain. Political commentators believe that this is the perfect opportunity for the senator to show that he is an effective politician. If Heller can go on and stop reopening of the nuclear waste facility, he would grab all the headlines in Nevada as the man who stopped Yucca Mountain. His home state voters will not forget what he did and will support his bid to be reelected as Nevada senator.
The proposal of Yucca Mountain poses significant safety and health risk to residents, said Sen. Dean Heller. Nevada senator added that he fought efforts by the Trump’s administration to add $120 million in the last two fiscal years, as a package to restart the licensing process for the nuclear waste facility. Heller said that the House approved the budget which was added in 2017 and 2018 but he took them out. This led Heller to confront Secretary of Energy Rick Perry over the nuclear waste budget issue back in March. Heller asked the Energy Secretary whether the government was planning to add it back in 2019 fiscal year. Perry replied that they would try but they fear the outcome will be the same.
Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director was also grilled by the senator over the issue. He said that he is ready to find an alternative solution for storing nuclear waste after Heller described Yucca Mountain as an ill-conceived and unsafe proposal. It remains to be seen whether the Yucca Mountain will play a role as Heller goes head to head with his Democrat rival Rep. Jack Rosen for the Nevada Senate post.