Sue Lowden: Yucca Mountain’s Friend in Nevada

October 1, 2009: Las Vegas, NV. – After announcing her bid for the U.S. Senate Wednesday, former Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden is already trying to distance herself from a record that has been disastrous for Nevada. She launched her campaign of distortion by trying to attack Sen. Harry Reid on his efforts to kill the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

Sen. Reid has long led the fight against Yucca Mountain, consistently stripping funding from the project and, with the election of Pres. Obama, has ensured that Nevada will not become the nation's nuclear dumping ground.

Lowden told the Las Vegas Review-Journal Wednesday she was, “clearly on the record being against it (Yucca Mountain).” That's far from true.

From 1995, when she was a state senator, and as recently as this year, Lowden has been one of the leading voices in the state for accepting the dump with open arms, and has led efforts to breathe life back into a project on its death bed.

- In 1995 as a state senator, Sue Lowden voted for Senate Resolution 4, which condemned then Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa for her efforts against the Caliente City Council, which had passed their own resolution in favor of negotiating for benefits in return for storing nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain. [Senate Resolution 4 floor vote, 3/29/1995]

- In December 2008, Lowden led a propaganda tour of Yucca Mountain. The Associated Press reported, “In December, Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden touted the dump's financial potential after leading 60 members of the party's central committee on a tour of Yucca Mountain, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas … Lowden said the repository could help solve Nevada's financial crisis, and the state should consider negotiating for federal benefits for accepting it.” [Associated Press, 2/6/09 (emphasis added)]

- In a February 2009 blog post, Lowden wrote that the economic crisis, “suggests that perhaps the time is right to re-open a discussion on this issue and possibly reassess our position.” [Lowden Line, 2/10/09]

News outlets around Nevada roundly criticized Lowden for her “sell-out” attitude towards Yucca.

- In a January 2009 editorial, the Las Vegas Sun wrote, “With President-elect Barack Obama opposed to a dump at Yucca Mountain and with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, spearheading the fight in Congress, the opportunity to kill the Energy Department’s proposal has never been better. The last thing Nevadans need is for that final push to be undercut by people who live in this state. But some Nevada Republican leaders have abandoned common sense in recent weeks and are beginning to sound like shills for the nuclear power industry, which wants to dump its waste at Yucca.” [Las Vegas Sun, Editorial, 1/2/09]

- In a March 2009 editorial, In Business Las Vegas wrote, “Let’s not forget that no elected official has fought longer or harder against the dump than Reid. He deserves special credit for using his powerful Senate position to slash funding for the dump and to convince Obama that Nevadans would be best served by keeping the high-level waste out of this state. Left with a lot of explaining to do are a small number of Nevadans, including Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden, who wanted to sell out the state and host the dump in exchange for federal benefits. They certainly weren’t looking out for the health and welfare of their fellow Nevadans.” [In Business Las Vegas, Editorial, 3/6/09]

“Harry Reid has been leading the fight against Yucca Mountain, and now Nevada is poised for a final victory,” said Travis Brock, executive director for the Nevada State Democratic Party. “Meanwhile Sue Lowden and others in the Nevada Republican Party have undercut those efforts, trying to sell out the safety of Nevada families for a quick buck.

“The last thing Nevada needs in these tough times is a senator who will undercut more than two decades of bipartisan work by offering to let the rest of the country dump its nuclear waste in our state if the price is right.”