Powerful gaming group opposes U.S. budget effort for Yucca

The American Gaming Association is expressing opposition to the Trump administration’s inclusion in its budget proposal of $120 million to restore the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nye County.

“AGA opposes any effort to revive Yucca Mountain as a repository and will work with the many concerned citizens, small-business operators and members of Congress to ensure that radioactive waste is never stored anywhere near the world’s premier tourist, convention and entertainment destination,” the association’s vice president of government relations, Chris Cylke, said in a statement Feb. 13.

Cylke said that Yucca Mountain is 90 miles from Las Vegas, which welcomed 42 million visitors last year.

“Over the past decade, the Greater Las Vegas area is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. with a population that now exceeds 2.1 million people, according to an estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau,” Cylke said.

“Any problems with the transport of nuclear waste to the site, or issues with its storage there, would bring potentially devastating consequences to the local, state and national economies,” Cylke said.

In April 2017, association President and CEO Geoff Freeman sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment and the Economy, opposing the plan to reopen the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

The American Gaming Association represents the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states.

A message seeking reaction to the association’s stance was requested from Nye County government this week.

Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen, one of the most vocal proponents of Yucca Mountain in Nye County, has said he stands with eight other rural Nevada counties that support vetting the science of Yucca Mountain.

“We just want the law to be followed, and have that body that deals with nuclear issues to hear the science,” Schinhofen said last year.