Bingaman said in a statement Wednesday that he and ranking member Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Bipartisan lawmakers announce climate adaptation bill MORE (R-Alaska), and Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE (R-Tenn.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinOvernight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs MORE (D-Calif.) had failed to agree on legislative language for the bill. But the New Mexico senator said he hoped the proposal would serve as a table-setter for a September hearing on nuclear waste management.
“Nonetheless, we agreed that I should introduce legislation and that the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources should hold a hearing in September," Bingaman said. "My hope is to obtain testimony on it and to build a legislative record that might serve as the foundation for further consideration and ultimate enactment in the next Congress."
The President's Blue Ribbon Commission recommended developing interim storage sites to hold the waste accumulating at nuclear power reactors; restarting efforts to build one or more permanent disposal sites; and establishing a new independent federal body to assume oversight duties from the Energy Department.
Obama and Republican lawmakers have been at odds over the issue, especially after the administration’s decision to abandon the long-planned and long-delayed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada.
Congress had identified Yucca Mountain as its preferred site for spent nuclear fuel in 1987, but amid opposition from Nevada lawmakers, spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Biden hits one-year mark in dire straits 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE (D-Nev.), the White House abandoned the project in 2009. Republicans allege that the decision was motivated by politics and not science.
Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu established the commission in 2009 to recommend a path forward on the nation's nuclear waste storage plans.
About 65,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel is stored at 75 nuclear reactors around the nation.