Sisolak Not Attending Events with Pence, White House Over Secret Plutonium Shipment

February 22, 2019

Governor Steve Sisolak is electing to not attend events with Vice President Mike Pence and other state governors over the federal government’s shipping of a half-ton of plutonium to Nevada without informing state officials.

Sisolak’s office said the Democratic governor will not attend three events hosted by the White House this weekend as part of the National Governors Association winter meeting, including a meeting with Pence, a dinner at the White House and a briefing for governors on Monday.

Last month, federal officials disclosed that they had shipped plutonium to the state in 2018, enraging state officials who said they believed they had engaged in good-faith negotiations about the transportation and storage of the radioactive material. Sisolak — who said he was “beyond outraged” at the move of the plutonium to the Nevada Test Site last November — and Attorney General Aaron Ford announced earlier this month that the state was appealing a preliminary injunction over the plutonium shipments to the state.

Sisolak’s office also brought up the plutonium shipment in a survey sent to governors ahead of the NGA meeting on state and federal relationships, saying that the state and municipalities were unable to “adequately prepare” for the shipment moving through the state.

“Respect by the federal Executive Branch and its agencies for Nevada’s sovereignty under principles of federalism would greatly enhance the Nevada-Federal partnership,” his office wrote in response to the survey. “In particular, open and honest discussions between the federal government, Nevada, and the State’s federal delegation prior to shipping hazardous materials into Nevada would be helpful to re-establishing some semblance of trust in Nevada’s citizens toward the federal government on matters relating to nuclear material.”