Nevada’s chief attorney on Yucca retiring

WASHINGTON — Marta Adams, a senior attorney for the state of Nevada and its chief in-house lawyer on Yucca Mountain, has announced her retirement at the end of the month.

Adams, chief deputy attorney general, has represented Nevada in all matters involving the controversial nuclear waste program since 1998. She also has handled a variety of other environmental law issues since shortly after joining the attorney general‘s office in 1983.

She spent five years in private practice, from 1990-1995, before returning to public service.

“The rumor is true,” Adams, 64, said Tuesday. “œIt’™s time for me to switch gears and do the typical things people say, tend to my family and that sort of thing. It’™s been a good run.”

In the state’™s decades-long fight against the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, Adams handled cases involving water rights, radiation protection standards, environmental studies, land withdrawals, transportation security and aspects of licensing for the site 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

She has managed the state’s team of as many as a half dozen contract attorneys and legal specialists and more than a dozen technical experts who were prepared to be called as legal witnesses.

“Most Nevadans don’€˜t know Marta but she has helped keep them safe,” said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., a leading Yucca opponent.

“Her departure leaves a big gap,” said former Sen. Richard Bryan, now chairman of the commission that advises Nevada’™s governor and legislature on nuclear waste.

“œNo one has a better perspective on the legal history of Nevada’™s fight against the nuclear waste dump,” Bryan said in an interview. “œShe has been critically important to us.”

Adams has worked under six attorneys general including current office holder Adam Laxalt.

“Chief Deputy Attorney General Marta Adams has dedicated her professional life to environmental and natural resource work, and had a leading role in Nevada’™s legal efforts to block the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste repository for nearly two decades,” Laxalt said while vowing his office “will continue the fight” after her departure.

Adams said she was hopeful to continue advising state officials in some capacity after she leaves the attorney general’s office.