NEVADA Gov. Bob Miller has set the stage for a court battle with the federal government by rejecting four permits to study a Nevada site's suitability as the nation's first high-level radioactive-waste dump. ``This issue will certainly go to court,'' Governor Miller said Tuesday after rejecting the permit requests by the federal Energy Department (DOE). ``The Legislature has passed and I have signed bills that make the dump illegal here.
``We cannot issue permits allowing the DOE to begin testing a site we have outlawed. They can't proceed without these permits.''
``It seems strange to us that state officials say Yucca Mountain is not suitable for the repository, yet the state will not grant us the permits needed to make that determination scientifically,'' said Carl Gertz, the DOE's project manager for the proposed Yucca Mountain site.
Miller said the Energy Department has no authority to conduct experiments at Yucca Mountain without the state's approval. That was blocked earlier this year when the Legislature passed a bill forbidding the storage of high-level nuclear waste in Nevada.