Remember in February, when President Obama decided to cease any further work on the construction of America’s only long term nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain? The President’s decision caused Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to withdraw the application to have the facility licensed. As it turns out, that may not be happening after all.
Yesterday, a three judge panel of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ruled that the Secretary’s actions were illegal because a 1982 law passed by Congress required the Department of Energy to move forward with the Yucca Mountain project.
The law “does not give the secretary the discretion to substitute his policy for the one established by Congress,” the panel ruled.
Undaunted, a spokesperson for the Department of Energy has said that the Department,
remains confident that we have the legal authority to withdraw the application for the Yucca Mountain repository…we believe the administrative board’s decision is wrong…
The panel’s ruling, however, does seem to make perfect sense. The executive branch of the government can’t ignore laws passed by Congress simply because it doesn’t like them.
Then again… see Arizona.