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Power The Courts Politics

Court: NRC In Violation For Not Ruling On Yucca Mountain 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the waste-not-want-not dept.
schwit1 sends this quote from an AP report: "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] to complete the licensing process and approve or reject the Energy Department's application for a never-completed waste storage site at Nevada's Yucca Mountain. In a sharply worded opinion, the court said the nuclear agency was 'simply flouting the law' when it allowed the Obama administration to continue plans to close the proposed waste site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The action goes against a federal law designating Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear waste repository. 'The president may not decline to follow a statutory mandate or prohibition simply because of policy objections,' Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote in a majority opinion (PDF), which was joined Judge A. Raymond Randolph. Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland dissented. The appeals court said the case has important implications for the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government. 'It is no overstatement to say that our constitutional system of separation of powers would be significantly altered if we were to allow executive and independent agencies to disregard federal law in the manner asserted in this case by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,' Kavanaugh wrote. 'The commission is simply defying a law enacted by Congress ... without any legal basis.'"
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Court: NRC In Violation For Not Ruling On Yucca Mountain

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  • Here's the real story: Nobody wants to have a nuclear waste disposal site in their backyard. And actually, that is the sum total of the story; everything else is just details. In this case, some people at the NRC (and the President) decided that the only way this was ever going to happen is if they take unilateral action, say fuck you to the NIMBYs, and move forward. Obviously, the courts are butthurt by this, because they want the chance to let every significant government action get bogged down in the qua

    • by JDAustin (468180) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @06:47PM (#44559017)

      ...and why are you giving the NRC and Obama bravo's? They are CLOSING Yucca mountain, not getting it completed and therefore usable.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @07:21PM (#44559333)

        ...and why are you giving the NRC and Obama bravo's? They are CLOSING Yucca mountain, not getting it completed and therefore usable.

        Umm, maybe this is a bit of an obvious thing to say, but given that you're at a +5 informative and I've been modded troll, perhaps not obvious enough...

        Why are they closing Yucca mountain?

        Is it perhaps because all the money was witheld due to pressure from the NIMBYs, thus leaving closure the only option? The NRC pushed for years to get this operational and failed time and time again... because they couldn't ride roughshod over the courts. They tried. They failed. I admire that effort, though it failed.

        Obama had no choice but to mothball it; It was even part of his 2008 election campaign -- the NIMBYs, led by their commander Senator Harry Reid, vigorously campaigned to kill it. They won. Before Obama even took office, funding was cut, cut, and then gutted, cut some more, and roasted over a fire. Obama is now riding roughshod over the courts to get the money invested in the program back out, because he can't overcome NIMBY.

        So you've got the NRC on one side, trying to get past the endless appeals of the court system to get it done. You've got The NIMBYs on the other side, trying to keep it in court forever so it'll never get done... and you've got Obama in the middle saying "Fuck this -- Appeals court; GTFO." All he's trying to do is get some traction one way or another -- he picked pulling out because pressure was too great, not because the project isn't necessary. And yeah, I support that -- politically it's his only option. Just as the NRCs only option was to try to get around the courts before lobbyists got to Congress and killed it. It was a race... they lost. And the whole nation loses too.

        All of this because our goddamned court system is a giant monkey wrench in the guts of anything that society needs, but individuals don't want near them: Like prisons, sewage processing plants, nuclear reactors, etc. I bravo both Obama and the NRC because they recognize it's the court system that's fucking things up and they tried to do and end run-around them. They both failed. They were both on opposite sides of the problem... but ultimately, they both agreed on where the problem was: The goddamned courts.

        • Mod parent up. (Though Yucca Mountain stalemate goes back to at least Jimmy Carter, maybe earlier)
          • by Rockoon (1252108)
            Ummm no. The problem here began because girlintraining just got caught not knowing what he was talking about, again, while acting like an expert about a topic, again.

            girlintraiing then just did a complete about-face attempting to salvage the situation, proving as well that honesty and accuracy on the tin isnt as important to him as appearances.

            The common theme between the two posts is appearances, accuracy be damned.
        • by Myopic (18616) *

          Why not say fuck you to the NIMBYs? Aren't there fewer of them than all the rest of us?

          • Why not say fuck you to the NIMBYs? Aren't there fewer of them than all the rest of us?

            I don't know: Do you want to live next to the national repository for all kinds of highly radioactive waste, knowing it's an ideal terrorist and military target because, if it were ever damaged and the nuclear material released, it would create a cloud of hazardous radioactive shit raining down over a wide area, making it arguably worse than if they'd just dropped a nuke on your head?

            Of course not. It's like how pro-lifers are only one unplanned pregnancy away from being pro-choice. Situational politics. Th

        • by Entrope (68843)

          If the NIMBYs won, why does the law still require the NRC to do what this court has ordered it to do?

          If you said "because Harry Reid has a problem with the rule of law", you win one eCookie. But you probably said something stupid like "the court is endlessly appealing its earlier rulings", so no points for you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They're not completing the site, they're shutting it down. They gave the NIMBYs exactly what they wanted...no nuclear waste storage site even though the law says it is to be completed and used for storage.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Maybe they should start recycling it?

        Hot nuclear waste that still has a lot of radiation also has a lot of energy left to give.

        Also, we have glassification techniques that can neutralize a lot of the danger.

        I smell a rat that's getting fattened up as a government contractor.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Glassification is a bad idea because it just makes it harder to recycle when we finally pull our heads out of our asses and reprocess the fuel. Better solution, cranial-rectal extraction sooner rather than later

    • Fossil fuels are not sustainable. Period.

      (I think you got 2 more perioids there than you need.) Also, you're assuming that the people in power(who mostly overlap with the group of people who never developed any type of moral backbone or anything resembling ethics) care what happens after theyre gone. Whats in it for them to lessen their gains now to care about what comes in 50, 100 or 200 years? People need to start bringing out the pitchforks and torches again and make them understand the people in power are there to server the public, not the

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I think you got 2 more perioids there than you need.

        Better than!!! She's simply saying "end of story" or "the end."

        I have to agree with your comment about the powerful, though.

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      > And that means we need storage facilities

      Or fuel reprocessing plants - we had such things in the early days of fission energy, but then advances in uranium mining made them unprofitable. Pull out the 90% of the high level "waste" that's still perfectly good fuel and what's left will be reasonably safe in only a couple centuries. It is still kinda hot, but a multi-millenia storage facility is necessary.

      So which palms do you suppose were greased to make sure that the admittance facility at Yucca Mounta

    • You do realize Obama caved in to the NIMBY crowd in 2009 and cut funding to Yucca Mtn and is trying to terminate the project and find another site? His previous secretary of energy declared the site invalid, despite congress passing the law, Bush signing the law, and despite the court ruling it valid. The current executive branch has cited "budget problems", so isn't spending any money to actually run the project, so nothing is happening. Now the court is ruling it a valid site, yet again.
      • You do realize that the head of the Senate is from Nevada right?

        Yucca Mountain has had every possible hurdle placed in it's way to gum up the project- all that is left is for officials fighting NIMBY forces to start having accidents... Different stall tactics are tried by everybody who gets into this mess. It's a politically toxic issue.

        As for Obama, he isn't simple to follow. He says one thing and then does something "pragmatic" to get along with as many of the powerful forces as possible - it is as if th

        • I hate to break it to you, but right now is the most corrupt, dysfunctional time in the nations history.

    • Here's the real story: Nobody wants to have a nuclear waste disposal site in their backyard.

      This is mostly because it hasn't been handled and presented right. If the people of Nevada actually engaged their brains, what they should have done is just demanded money. By adding 1% to the cost of building the facility, they could give every single household in Nevada over $1000 -- and by charging other states to store their waste there, they could continue to pay the citizens back.

      Make a proposal like that, and it's guaranteed that the people will vote in someone who will make it happen. No way the

  • Please spend your last $11.1 million on a facility that is never going to become operational. Make sure the money goes to companies financing political lobbysts.

    Fact Sheet on Licensing Yucca Mountain [nrc.gov]
  • by jensend (71114) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @06:58PM (#44559139)

    In the past couple of years we've seen the administration declare loudly that they'll refuse to enforce other laws, including immigration laws and the Obamacare employer mandate. Meanwhile, any court challenge to a law the administration doesn't particularly like is sure to succeed, since the administration will refuse to defend it.

    Unless something turns around, the rule of law and the separation of powers are on their way out in this country, to be supplanted by the decisions of a dictator and of unelected officials he appoints.

  • by HighOrbit (631451) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @07:02PM (#44559149)
    You may or may not agree with the wisdom of any particular law, but the executive branch and the President have an obligation to see that the laws are faithfully executed until such time the law is repealed, even when they disagree personally (or politically) . Under the Constitution, it is not the place of President or his advisers to second-guess a duly passed law. If they think the law is unwise, they should go through the democratic process of petitioning Congress to repeal it. Just unilaterally deciding to ignore the law undermines the rule of law and the democratic process.

    Here are some laws that the administration has famously ignored, instead of pursuing a repeal through the democratic process. There are probably more.
    • The Defense of Marriage Act
    • Mandatory Sentencing
    • Yucca Mountain

    Again, I'm not saying any one of these laws is a wise law, but they are (or were in the case of DOMA until overturned) duly legislated, therefore the executive had a constitutional duty to enforce them until such time the laws are repealed by the legislature or overturned by the courts. Where is the Republic going when the executive branch no longer feels constrained by the law or the democracy?

    • Where is the Republic going when the executive branch no longer feels constrained by the law or the democracy?

      Are you saying there was a period in american history where the government actually did more than play a lip service to the written rules?

      • by HighOrbit (631451)
        Yes, practically the entirety, otherwise the Republic would have fallen long ago. I can not name any other time of SYSTEMIC lawlessness by the executive, not even Watergate. The only thing that come close was Jackson and Indian removal (trail of tears).
        • by NettiWelho (1147351) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @07:48PM (#44559613)

          Yes, practically the entirety, otherwise the Republic would have fallen long ago. I can not name any other time of SYSTEMIC lawlessness by the executive, not even Watergate. The only thing that come close was Jackson and Indian removal (trail of tears).

          Funny, just from my recent memory things like selling drugs to arm terrorists, backing and conducting assassinations, jailing people without charging or trialing them, coups and fabricating evidence to start a war with a neutral nation spring to mind.

          Or are you saying those people were trialed and served justice for their crimes against humanity and whatnot as per according to your own constitution, Nuremberg principles, international treaties and basic human decency while I blinked?

          To me the fact that these people were not punished is a sign that the whole thing is(and has been) rotten to the core and the insects infesting it are covering for eachother, this is merely just the most recent set of faces.

          Let me turn the question around; can you name a century during which no systemic corruption, disregard for human rights and life, or unjust violation of national sovereignty of a foreign nation condoned by US government did not happen?

          • by HighOrbit (631451)
            Would you care to cite a specific US Statute or US constitutional article and then the specific violating act?
            • Would you care to cite a specific US Statute or US constitutional article and then the specific violating act?

              I'm afraid I cannot let Nuremberg defense slide here, Dave.

              The Nazis defended their pre-war and war-time actions with national sovreignty and with the fact that everything done to the jews, gypsies, soviet POW's etc was in accordance with the German law at the time. The court - And we as a society of civilized nations decided that certains actions are punisable by death even when perpetrated by the government under laws of the land.

              Are you seriously suggesting you've never heard of things I listed in

              • by HighOrbit (631451)
                Well, the conversation just slipped into Godwin's Law [wikipedia.org]. But I'll bite anyway, because I'm bored.

                I don't know any specific allegation of selling drugs, but I've heard such rumors in the past. However, one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Backing and conducting assassinations? Don't know of any. I do know we have targeted killing of enemy combatants in the current war, but those are not assassinations. Jailing people without charging or trying them? I don't know of any Americans who have bee
                • Well, the conversation just slipped into Godwin's Law [wikipedia.org]. But I'll bite anyway, because I'm bored.

                  You dont get to draw that card when the discussion is about government abuse, the princeples applied are the same and comparisons very relevant.

                  I don't know any specific allegation of selling drugs

                  Yes, I'm sure its all fiction [wikipedia.org]

                  Backing and conducting assassinations? Don't know of any.

                  Stop being retarded.

                  I do know we have targeted killing of enemy combatants in the current war, but those are not assassinations.

                  You have not been in a state of war since 1945.
                  If you talk about your off-papers affairs in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan etc, a rather sizable portion of the victims are civilians murdered by a faction that is not at war with their government without avenue to pursue justice and reparations for their damages and in

          • by HighOrbit (631451)

            Let me turn the question around; can you name a century during which no systemic corruption, disregard for human rights and life, or unjust violation of national sovereignty of a foreign nation condoned by US government did not happen?

            Yes, the entire two centuries have been without systemic constitutional irregularity. There have been anecdotal violations of statutes and constitutional provisions, but never systemic. These other things you seem to being trying to introduce into the conversation do not seem

            • Yes, the entire two centuries have been without systemic constitutional irregularity. There have been anecdotal violations of statutes and constitutional provisions, but never systemic.

              Slavery never happened then?
              The spanish-american war of american aggression and the subsequent colonization and massacring of phillippine populace never happened then?
              You didn't inject syphilis and radioactive substances to alive human beings without their consent then?
              COINTELPRO is not real then?
              MK-ULTRA was not real then?

              These other things you seem to being trying to introduce into the conversation do not seem to be related to constitution or statute.

              THEY ARE THINGS AMERICANS HAVE PUT OTHER PEOPLE TO DEATH OVER AND DECLARED THESE ACTIONS ARE NO TOLERATED BY CIVILIZED PEOPLES

              Are you trying to say any blemish ruins the entire national project?

              'any blemish' is an understatement of several magnitudes.

              • by HighOrbit (631451)
                Slavery, while unwise and wrong, was legal at the time, which is the test we are applying here. We are discussing lawlessness versus lawfulness, not your or my personal definition of morality.

                What you describe as the spanish-american war of aggression was lawfully declared by our Congress under our constitution and the laws of nations at the time. You fail to explain how it exemplifies systemic disregard of constitution or law, merely that you disagree. BTW, we see this as a war against European colonia
                • Slavery, while unwise and wrong, was legal at the time, which is the test we are applying here. We are discussing lawlessness versus lawfulness, not your or my personal definition of morality.

                  Hmmmm, actually constitutional until civil rights act of 1866? I'd count that as a point against not for.. As in I was under the assumption you guys had written declaration of all people being created equal and whatnot since the revolution? Sometime in the 1700's if I have not mistaken?

                  What you describe as the spanish-american war of aggression was lawfully declared by our Congress under our constitution and the laws of nations at the time. You fail to explain how it exemplifies systemic disregard of constitution or law.

                  US declared war over what supposedly was Spanish sinking a US ship, the Maine, in reality blew up on its own yet you feel its OK to declare war over it. The Spanish didn't do it, therefore US didn't have a legimate casus bell

                  • In addendum, I find your tendency to hide behind whats legal under the law silly, because there are certain precedents against using that defense("Lawful orders"), when you trample peoples rights in the name of the law of the land.

                    It is not any more acceptable for United States than for Nazi Germany to say they are free to do these things because they are legal under the current laws.

                    If you have problem wrapping your head around this issue and understanding why I have an issue with this I'll give you
        • Perfectly matches the systematic inactivity of the legislative branch these days. (Symbolic attempts to repeal the ACA in the House don't count since they're DOA in the Senate.) They don't want to pass any laws, and the executive branch doesn't want to enforce them. The only one doing anything these days is the judicial branch, and that's mostly just pissing people off.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @07:58PM (#44559705)

      Don't forget:

      * The Obama Administration, no doubt with an eye to the 2014 elections, has announced that certain parts of the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) will simply be postponed until after the election. Nothing in the ACA gives this power [bloomberg.com] to the Executive branch.

      * President Obama attempted to make "bench" appointments when Congress was still in session. Months later, this one got shot down [washingtontimes.com] in the courts.

      * The IRS went after political enemies of the Administration. There may or may not have been direct orders from President Obama. (I am not ruling out something along the lines of "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" [redstate.com] instead of direct orders.) Not only is selective enforcement of the law illegal, but the IRS released confidential details of some conservative organizations to those organizations' political enemies, which is absolutely illegal with no possible wiggle room.

      * Eric Holder's Department of Justice has a history [frontpagemag.com] of flouting the law.

      I read an article that observed that one of the traditional checks on the power of government is the worry that, when the pendulum shifts and the other party is in power, that the other party might start taking advantage of any precedents you set. The article speculated that the Obama Administration isn't worried about this, as the mainstream media is solidly in Obama's pocket and yet implacably opposed to the Republicans. This leaves the Obama Administration free to do things that would get any Republican a firestorm of horrible publicity.

      Fans of Bill Clinton, after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, used to chant "Bush Lied, People Died. Clinton Lied, Nobody Died." Remember that nobody died in the Watergate scandal, and think very hard about the Benghazi scandal. But the mainstream media isn't interested in Benghazi or any of the other scandals, any more than they have to be.

      I'm not sure why I bothered to write this as somebody will mod it down to -1 really fast, rather than writing a rebuttal.

    • by swillden (191260)
      Don't forget the federal ban on marijuana possession and distribution.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Waste_Policy_Act [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] I'm pretty sure this is over. The US was to of had
    a permanent storage area for nuclear waste long ago.

    This area (East Washington State) would liked to of had the waste and was working on a repository (testing). West Washington State
    and the political power didn't; work was stopped and Nevada's Yucca Mountain became the designated (and only)
    high level nuclear waste burial site.

    Something does need to be done with the nuclear waste, other tha

  • The Obama campaign had to win Reno. In order to win Reno, they had to promise to do everything in their power to keep Yucca mountain closed. This is just a politician trying to keep peace. Reno's residents don't want Yucca open because they don't want nuclear waste trucked through their city. Unfortunately, nothing will convince them that it's safe.

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