Election Section


Saturday June 08, 2002

Nevada sues, again, to stop  

Yucca Mountain project 


WASHINGTON – The federal government violated environmental and nuclear policy laws in selecting a Nevada desert mountain ridge as the burial site for the nation’s nuclear waste, Nevada alleges in a lawsuit filed Thursday. 

With Congress likely to endorse President Bush’s recommendation of the Yucca Mountain as early as next month, state officials are increasingly focusing on the courts to try to stop the repository from being built 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. 

The new lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington by Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, is the state’s second this year against the Yucca Mountain proposal. 

It challenges the validity of the Energy Department’s final environmental impact statement, issued just a day before Bush’s decision in February. 

Energy Department officials have said they expected legal challenges from Nevada and defended the selection of the site. 

The state is alleging that the environmental study is flawed because it lacks such important details as the design of the storage facility, the specifications of the containers that will hold radioactive waste and a transportation plan. 

The lawsuit says the study violates the National Environmental Policy Act and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, the law Congress wrote to guide the selection of a site and the construction of the facility. 

In a legal challenge filed with the same court in February, the state argued Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham’s recommendation of the site and Bush’s decision were based on flawed guidelines. That lawsuit is still pending. 

The state filed earlier lawsuits over Yucca Mountain water rights, radioactivity standards and the criteria on which Abraham made his decision. 



Archaeologists: Okeechobee-area canals oldest in North America  

ORTONA, Fla. – Archaeologists said Thursday they have discovered the longest and oldest canals ever found in North America, a sophisticated system of channels dug by Indians with wood and shell tools 1,800 years ago. 

The ancient canal system was discovered along with a sacred pond in this rural community near Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida. 

The two canals, seven miles in length altogether, represent the longest and oldest canals in North America and show evidence of greater complexity in native American society than previously suspected, said Robert S. Carr of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy. 

The canals were used for fishing and for transportation around rapids that used to exist in the Caloosahatchee River, which runs from the lake to the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers in southwestern Florida, archaeologists said. 

Carr estimated that hundreds of Indians lived in this area and used tools of wood and shell to dig out millions of yards of sand and soil. 

“This suggests one level of technological achievement that really has never been honored before,” Carr said. 

Previously archaeologists believed the canals were hundreds of years more recent. 


Man in jail in legal dispute  

over Web postings  

SEATTLE – A 70-year-old man has been in jail for more than three months for refusing to delete from his Web site addresses and other personal data of employees at the retirement home that evicted him. 

The jailing of Paul Trummel, a native of England who moved to the United States in 1985, has drawn fire from national and international writers groups that support his First Amendment claims. 

“Our concern is that he’s being punished for speech on the Internet that should be protected,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C. 

Other groups that have questioned the jailing include the National Union of Journalists in London and Reporters Sans Frontieres of France. 

Trummel was jailed indefinitely on Feb. 27 for violating an anti-harassment order by King County Superior Court Judge James A. Doerty. Doerty ruled in April 2001 that Trummel had been abusive and stalked residents and administrators at Council House, a low-income retirement home in Seattle. 

Doerty ordered Trummel to remove from his Web site the home phone numbers, addresses and other personal data on employees at Council House, and imposed fines of $100 a day for failing to comply.