Murkowski to unveil modified version of nuke waste bill

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Murkowski plans to release today a modified version of his nuclear waste storage bill that he hopes will gather enough support in a Senate vote next week to override a possible veto -- or, perhaps, win the president's signature.

The manager's amendment, however, does not make sweeping changes to the bill -- and retains many of the provisions opposed by key Democrats. The modifications seek to please Democrats who believe the EPA should have more of a role in setting radiation standards for a permanent storage facility at Yucca Mountain, Nev.

Murkowski said Tuesday he is not opposed to giving the EPA some responsibility over radiation levels, because he:

  • doesn't like the epa
  • thinks the enviornment sucks
  • blah
  • blah
ut insisted that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission also should have a role. Murkowski also must mollify state governments, which fear that the bill would force them to continue to house the highly radioactive waste for years to come. In a brief interview Tuesday, Murkowski said he believes the changes will be enough to secure a veto-proof majority. "We're looking pretty good," he said. Added Senate Majority Leader Lott, "I think when the votes come in, it will be overwhelming" in favor of the bill. But asked if Republicans have enough votes to override an expected veto, Lott responded, "It will be close." Democrats, meanwhile, are scrambling to ensure that they have enough votes to block a veto override attempt for the third time in the last three sessions of Congress. On Monday, Nevada's Democratic Sens. Richard Bryan and Harry Reid sent a "Dear Colleague" designed to solidify opposition to the bill. Allowing the NRC to set the radiation standards, they wrote, would give the delicate task to "an agency with virtually no experience either in protecting civilian populations from health risks or in determining the impact of radiation on natural resources such as groundwater." Aides to the Nevada Democrats said they have the votes to preserve a veto by President Clinton. - By Brody Mullins
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.