By Battle Born Media 

Special to The Ely Times

Congressman Cresent Hardy (NV-4) of Mesquite made a big splash in the news with his opinion article that ran in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday stating officials from the state should have an “honest conversation” about the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

In his editorial, he wrote:

“Washington is broken. For far too long there has been too much talking and not enough listening.

“Nevadans may never want nuclear waste stored inside Yucca Mountain. We certainly won’t let it be forced upon us.

“But if the dialogue changes and a discussion is had and safety standards are overwhelmingly met we should at least be up for an honest conversation.

“I will never cease to advocate for the people of my state, and my district, to have the deciding voice in this discussion. And as long as the discussion about Yucca Mountain is limited to whether or not the federal government will force it upon Nevada, I will stand in strong opposition.

“The rut of political bickering shouldn’t be good enough. Nevada should always have the ability to say no. And I’ll always fight for that right.

“Sometimes issues are deeper than a simple “for” or “against.” Sometimes it just takes an honest, in-depth discussion.”

His stance brought forth a strong reaction from those who have fought the Yucca Mountain project for decades, including Sen. Harry Reid, who said, “Rep. Hardy is living in a world that doesn’t exist. Opening the door to a nuclear dump Nevada is not something I will ever accept. Yucca Mountain is not ‘an issue that long ago lost its middle.’ When it comes to protecting the health and safety of Nevadans from a potential environmental catastrophe, there is no benefit worth bargaining for. Nevada’s own experts, the Nuclear Waste Project Office, have worked for years with scientists and technical experts to reveal that Yucca Mountain is a highly risky, half-baked proposal riddled with technical flaws that guarantee eventual failure.”

Besides his stance on Yucca Mountain, Hardy last week introduced the Land Acquisition to cut National Debt Act, or LAND Act, which would prohibit the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture from using federal dollars to purchase land resulting in a net increase in acreage, during years in which the federal budget is not balanced.

The LAND Act prohibits the Secretary of Interior from using federal dollars to purchase land resulting in a net increase in acreage under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Bureau of Land Management, unless the federal budget is balanced for the year in which such land would be purchased.

The Secretary of Agriculture is likewise prohibited from using federal dollars to purchase land resulting in a net increase in acreage under the National Forest System, in years without a balanced federal budget.

“Simply put, this bill tells the federal government that responsibly and efficiently managing the 640 million acres of land it already controls must be a higher priority than acquiring even more private, state and tribal land,” Congressman Hardy said during a speech on the House floor.

“The federal government has bitten off more than it can chew, and it cannot be trusted to serve as a responsible steward of even more of our lands and resources,” Hardy continued. “I’m a Nevadan. The federal government controls more than 81 percent of my state, and I think I speak for most of my constituents when I say, enough is enough.”

The LAND Act:

· Prioritizes responsible, efficient management of lands currently under federal jurisdiction over further acquisition

· Emphasizes the need for states to have increasingly greater control over the lands inside their borders

· Asks that the federal government live within its means rather than borrowing to expand its land holdings