A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the Obama administration has continuously violated federal law by delaying a law enacted by Congress “without any legal basis.” At the center of controversy is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s move to delay a proposed nuclear waste dump in Nevada.
The Associated Press reports:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia voted 2-1 in favor of ordering the 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, which was joined Judge A. Raymond Randolph. Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland dissented.
“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 Yucca site has been the focus of controversy for more than three decades. The federal government has spent approximately $15 billion on the site, but never completed it, and no waste has been stored there.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said, “This decision reaffirms a fundamental truth: The president is not above the law.”
The Obama administration “cannot pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore.”
While I agree with Mr. Wilson, apparently he hasn’t heard Congressman Markwayne Mullin. In people like Mullin’s mind, Obama is above the law and voters determine whether or not Obama will be held accountable, not those in authority. But I digress.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton0 (R-MI), and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) issued a joint statement in which they praised the Court’s ruling. “Today’s action by the court is a significant milestone for Yucca Mountain and a clear rebuke of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s failure to implement the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The Obama administration rejected the law and prematurely terminated the Yucca Mountain repository program. But Congress and the courts have spoken out to prevent billions of taxpayer dollars and three decades of research from being squandered. … Let the science be the deciding factor on Yucca Mountain, not politics.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said the court’s decision was “fairly meaningless” and that Congress had cut funding for Yucca was unlikely to restore it. “This isn’t even a bump in the road. This, without being disrespectful to the court, means nothing,” Reid told reporters on Tuesday.
Reid claims there is no money for the project. “We’ve cut out funding for many years now, and there’s none in our budget to start it.”
Apparently there are billions to send to our enemies though. Does this make any sense? None that I can see.
Both South Carolina and the State of Washington have large nuclear waste sites that would use the Yucca repository. They filed a lawsuit to force the NRC to rule on the Yucca Mountain application.
I would think that Harry Reid because he is from Nevada, doesn’t want this in his backyard and so that is why he is opposed to funding it. He’s just fine with nuclear waste staying in my backyard and the state of Washington.
Considering that the Obama administration has picked and chosen laws it will follow and those it won’t (ie. immigration and the Defense of Marriage Act along with violating all kinds of laws with the NSA’s spying programs and Operation Fast and Furious), it should come as no surprise that a court would find it guilty of violating this law. Obama continues to have a Secretary of Health and Human Services who has been found guilty of violating federal law by the Office of Special Counsel and yet she is heading the operation to make you buy health insurance and regulate businesses concerning insurance for employees. Ironic, isn’t it?
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.