State Engineer releases statement about water use at Yucca Mountain

July 20, 2007

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has informed the State Engineer that it does not accept the terms of the State Engineer’s letter of July 16, 2007. Since the DOE has rejected the terms of that letter, the State Engineer’s order to cease and desist the use of water for the drilling of further bore holes at Yucca Mountain is reinstated, and the Department is expressly prohibited from the use of ground water for bore hole drilling or any other purpose other than those allowed under a June 2003 agreement entered into during the course of litigation on the DOE’s water right applications.

As set forth in his July 16, 2007 letter, the State Engineer made it abundantly clear that he believes the Department deliberately violated the terms of the agreement of the parties that has been in place since June 2003. However, after carefully reviewing and considering all of the facts and controlling law, and with an eye toward likely future litigation over water at Yucca Mountain, the State Engineer determined that this intermediate step was advisable.

The State Engineer stands by his Ruling 5307, which found that the use of water for the construction and operation of a nuclear dump at Yucca Mountain threatens to be detrimental to the public interest and cannot be allowed under Nevada water law, and he intends to vigorously defend that decision in court.


  1. State Engineer’s cease and desist letter (July 20, 2007)
  2. DOE response to July 16 letter and State Engineer’s July 20, 2007 statement
  3. State Engineer’s July 16, 2007 letter to DOE

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