Reid and the rest of the Nevada delegation have also sought to cut funding for the Yucca Mountain project, and they appear to be winning that fight. The White House asked for $880 million for Yucca next year, but the fiscal 2005 energy and water appropriations bill under consideration by the House would only provide $131 million. Most of the money that the Bush administration sought was supposed to have come from a $15 billion Nuclear Waste Fund, which contains money paid by utility companies.
But legislation authorizing use of those funds is thought to have little chance of being enacted this year, and appropriators have focused on other needs instead. And with Reid sitting on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Energy Department is not going to receive any more support for its funding request in that chamber.