Jeb was once part of nuclear industry group pushing Yucca Mountain

Jeb Bush declined last week to take a position on the Yucca Mountain repository, saying he had to study it before deciding. But he has had a position in the past: He was for it.

The ex-Florida governor, who will be in Nevada next month, was once part of a front group for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the main lobbying entity behind siting a repository at Yucca Mountain. Bush was part of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, or CASEnergy Coalition, which was funded by NEI and pushed in the middle of the last decade for construction of the dump.

The group was led by ex-New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman, but Bush was consistently listed as a member. The coalition consistently pushed for the dump to be accelerated.

During this same period, Bush signed letters opposing interim waste sites, including joining a bipartsian group of 17 governors in 2006 in a letter to Congress that argued it was "a giant step backward for ratepayers in our states and others who have contributed more than $14 billion into the Nuclear Waste Fund."

What's more, those emails Bush recently released show he was fully briefed on Yucca Mountain during this time, so he shouldn't have a reason to study it now. Team Jeb knew as far back as 2002 how controversial the issue was, as an aide advised him in an email:

Yesterday, (Energy) Sec. (Spencer) Abraham recommended that POTUS designate Yucca Mountain as the burial spot for nuclear waste from nation’s nuclear power reactors. You may be asked for comment on this today. FYI we did a letter to Sec. Richardson back in 1999 specifically the letter supported a ‘central depository’ for the waste but you did not name Yucca specifically. Given Congressional dynamics, I think it best to stay on message about support for a central depository and defer to feds on location site. I would not name Nevada specifically, but support decision to move forward on a central site.

Even then, the avoid-Nevada-but-support-the-dump dodge was afoot.

Bush can't avoid his past on the repository, which was finally approved by a guy with the same last name in the White House.I don't believe in the sins of the brother being visited on the brother, but Jeb appears to have had the same position as W.

I'm awaiting the "circumstances have changed" response from his incipient campaign. But Bush will address the Clark County GOP Lincoln Day dinner May 13, so the best way to deal with this might be to come on a statewide television program and take questions.