Does monument designation derail rail right of way to Yucca Mountain?

Caliente Railroad Depot

Both the Sun and the Review-Journal have reported that the declaration creating the 700,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument could block any right of way for a rail link from Caliente to Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste transport.

The Sun quotes a state official as saying, “This is the final nail in the coffin.”

The R-J blithely stated, “The designation would also block a possible future rail corridor for nuclear waste shipments to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository.”

Despite the congressional abdication of its constitutionally enumerated power to control public lands with the Antiquity Act of 1906, Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution still reads: “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States …”

Among “all needful Rules and Regulations” certainly would be the power to designate a right of way through a national monument.

Of course, Congress could also play hardball and route the nuke waste through Las Vegas via rail and/or truck. Be careful what moves you make in this game of nuclear chess.

Caliente Rail Spur

Basin and Range National Monument as proposed by Harry Reid (R-J graphic)





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