Western Shoshone tribal leaders say a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain would expose their land and people to too much risk. (Johnny Bobb)

TONOPAH, Nev. – The Western Shoshone Tribe is inviting the public to join its protest this weekend against moves by the Trump administration to restart operations at the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

Hear an audio report from Suzanne Potter.


Tribe members began their annual sacred walk in Tonopah on Monday and will end in Mercury on Friday, where the public can join them. Western Shoshone Council member Johnnie Bobb, who will lead the events, said the tribe takes a stand to protect Mother Earth every year on Mother’s Day weekend.

“Our native people have been fighting this war for a long time,” he said. “The Nevada Test Site, quit building it. Don’t make it no more. Try something else. This is sacred land. This is Shoshone land. This is a treaty land. We don’t want this nuclear waste.”

Last year, the feds requested $150 million to revive the licensing process, but Congress did not appropriate the money. This year, they’ve requested almost $170 million. Members of Nevada’s congressional delegation have introduced bills to block the project at Yucca Mountain and top leaders in the casino industry are on record in opposition as well.

Even though the nuclear bomb tests took place decades ago, said Colton Miller, a Western Shoshone protester, the effects still remain. So, the tribe opposes any new nuclear storage at the site.

“The effects are being seen everywhere now in the surrounding area around the Yucca Mountain,” he said. “Radiation traces have been traced all the way to Indian Springs, Cactus Springs, 25 miles away, not to mention there’s an important aquifer that stretches out for 80 miles.”

The group PLAN Action is arranging bus transportation this Friday so people from Las Vegas and Reno can get to the site in Mercury, where they can camp and take part in the events on Saturday, returning on Sunday. More information is on the PLAN Action Facebook page.