Gov. Sisolak, AG Ford appeal federal judge’s decision in plutonium shipment litigation

Local News

Governor Steve Sisolak announced Monday that Attorney General Aaron Ford has filed a notice with the U.S. District Court of the state’s intention to appeal the Ninth Circuit decision on the state’s preliminary injunction regarding plutonium shipments to Nevada.

“My administration continues to exercise every legal tool at our disposal to fight back against the federal government’s reckless disregard for the safety of Nevada’s families and environment,” Gov. Sisolak said. “As I said in my State of the State address, I will stand up to any attempt to send even one ounce of nuclear material to Nevada.”

The weapons-grade plutonium represents a fraction of the hazardous materials that pass through Nevada every year.

“As I’ve said before, Governor Sisolak and I will vigorously oppose any future shipments of plutonium to our State, and are deeply disappointed by the District Court judge’s decision to deny our attempts to do so,” Attorney General Ford said. “Today, we provided the District Court notice that we will appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This notice of appeal will serve as a message to the courts and to every Nevadan: that the Nevada Attorney General’s Office will exhaust every legal avenue to ensure the health, safety and economic prosperity of its residents is not jeopardized.”

In 2015, sites across Nevada shipped over 15,000 tons of hazardous materials, and received more than 71,000 tons, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  Some of it was radioactive.

On Nov. 30, 2018, Nevada filed a motion for preliminary injunction with the U.S. District Court to halt plutonium shipments from the U.S. Department of Energy pending a full environmental impact analysis as prescribed by law. A hearing took place on the state’s motion on Jan. 17, 2019, during which Judge Miranda Du expressed hope that the federal government would not ship any plutonium to Nevada until she had ruled on the state’s motion for preliminary injunction. 

On Jan. 30, Nevada received notice from the U.S. Dept. of Energy revealing that it had already shipped half a metric ton of plutonium to Nevada. Later that same day, Judge Du denied the state’s motion for preliminary injunction.

Nevada elected officials blasted the agency for shipping weapons-grade plutonium to the Nevada National Security Site without their knowledge. However, the DOE calls Nevada officials’ claims that they weren’t notified about the shipment “inaccurate.”  

 The notice of appeal documents are attached to this article.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Trending Stories