Interviews
Bob Loux  and Judy Treichel.
Loux is an oversight agent with the Nevada Nuclear Waste Project. Treichel is an activist with the Nuclear Waste Task Force. Both talk about the public's reaction to the Yucca Mountain project, the proposed site for a national nuclear waste repository.
Q: Some people say Nevada is the perfect place to store nuclear waste. Is it?

Bob: Well, when we talk to citizens throughout Nevada, most of Nevada's citizens, as well as leaders, believe that Nevada's done its share in the nuclear arena, having hosted the above-ground weapons testing program with its attendant consequences. Nevada has no power plants, nuclear power plants. And so most Nevadans believe it's time for another state or some other locality to step up to the plate in the nuclear arena, especially for commercial spent fuel that Nevada has had no part in creating, no benefit directly from. Someone who has benefited from it directly ought to be the ones that step up.

Q: Judy, do you think it's unfair that you should take the waste for other parts of the country?

Judy: I don't see that as the argument so much. When you talk to a lot of people, they see the unfairness as their inability to have anything to do with this. You always hear about this program being open, and that there's public consultation, and the decision making goes on in league with all, as they call them, stakeholders. I won't use that word because it gets misused. But the people don't really have anything to say about it. And they read the paper, and that's the first time they hear that, voila.

Q: Bob, what happened then, politically? You've followed this. Were you just out-maneuvered?

Bob: Well, Nevada has not had a large number of Congressional representatives. We've always [obviously], like every other state, only had two senators, but we've really only had two congressmen as well. And up until a few years ago, only one. It was one of those situation where, in fact, other states Texas and Washington and others, which were also being examined--had a lot more juice in the system, had a lot more strength on the Hill, and had members in very key positions, whether they be Speaker of the House of Representatives or Majority Leader. They were in a position to make sure their states weren't picked. Nevada's delegation was rather new, meaning it didn't have a lot of seniority, and plus, small numerically. Our members were told, "Hey, guys, this is a pure political decision. It's nothing personal. Sorry, you just drew the short straw."

Q: So you don't think it had anything to do with the scientific merits. How many sites were there originally? There was eight?

Bob: Well, actually there were nine originally, I mean, and a cut was made in 1986 to reduce that to five. And then there was supposed to be the next cut later on, which reduced it to three, the following year. It was the combined look at least the cost of characterizing all three sites. At least, that was one representation. It was also again the political side of it, where someone was going to have to be it. But I think members of Congress as well as the industry simply didn't want to see a study going on at three different locations at once, not only for the cost but because of the political side of the ramifications of that. It was much easier to control and manage a project that was simply in one location. Given the presence of the federal reservation, (i.e., the Nevada test site), although we were not unique in that (Hanford has a federal reservation as well, in Washington state), but given those factors, it was easy at least for Congress to make that kind of decision. The Department of Energy helped in this effort as well, by providing testimony that they believe the site would undoubtedly meet the existing health and safety standards at the time that were in place, by some five orders of magnitude.

Q: Now, Judy, they haven't selected Nevada, have they? They just said they're studying Nevada. What's the problem with that?

Judy: Well, it's pretty hard to believe that they don't have a clear investment when you go out and you look at that tunnel that's going on, and you see all of the money that's gone to this. And I'm not sure that there's something magic about Nevada, because if you talk to nuclear industry representatives, who really are pulling the strings on this thing, they will tell you that they're very concerned about the rise in cost of a repository, the way the costs are going up. And really what they want to do it get this stuff out and away from the utilities. And I even asked one of them. One day I said, "It looks to me like once you got a spot, whether it was Nevada or somewhere else, you'd run screaming from that repository project because of what it will cost you." And he said, "Yes, you're right. But you can never quote me on that. I'll deny it to the death." And so what you also hear from the utilities is, "We've got to get this waste moving." And there was an on-the-record statement by one of the people who comes from the Northern States Power area in Minnesota, and she said, "This legislation (meaning the interim storage bill) is absolutely essential. We've got to keep these plants running." And I don't think they care where the thing is. It's just, at this point it would be very difficult to change sites. They know they're going to have the same opposition everywhere they go. I don't see anything unusual about Nevadans.

Q: Bob, the argument can be made, that you have hosted all these weapons tests, your soil's full of nuclear material?

Bob: Number one, it's an issue where I think there's some distinction made between sort of doing, a service for the country in a time when we had a Cold War going on and there was some obvious interest in superiority, at least in a military sense. And Nevadans, I think, felt in some sense when the weapons testing was going on, contributing to that part. But now to turn this around and do something, perform this service for a commercial nuclear industry, a profit-making industry, I think, changes the argument dramatically.

I think, secondly, because of the experience that Nevadans have had with the Nevada test site and seeing what's gone on with Beatty and much experience with the Department of Energy, I think they're much more distrustful of the agency now than they were early in the '50s, when all this was very new and exciting and seemed to provide some sort of patriotism component to it. That's no longer relevant. The idea that because weapons testing has taken place, that we should add infinitely more radionuclides to the whole environment, simply doesn't wash and make sense.

Q: But talk about the stigma factor, that regardless of any real health benefits, what is the perception of this likely to be?

Bob: The state side has taken a good look at this whole economic picture, and how a facility like this might affect Nevada's economy, which is, you know, principally based on gaming and tourism, people visiting this state from other locations for a number of purposes. Nearly every study we have done has shown that the public's fear and concern over nuclear waste is extremely high, higher than it is for nuclear power plants, higher than it is even for nuclear bombs or nuclear weapons tests.

Q: Higher than nuclear bombs?

Bob: Higher than nuclear bombs. The concern that I know the industry has here in southern Nevada, meaning the entertainment industry, the gaming industry, the tourism industry, is that people will be less likely ... and the data suggests people will be less likely to visit Las Vegas, visit southern Nevada, if in fact they know a nuclear waste repository is operating, being built, being loaded, and worse yet, that they'd have to transport the highways and rail lines of this country along with nuclear waste. Those are issues that I know that the gaming industry is very concerned about. And again, all of our studies show that we don't know how long that effect would last and how big it really would be. But we clearly can see a very negative economic impact from this particular project, from the stigma effect.

Q: Judy, they're a long way along with the process here. The longer this goes on, doesn't it get more and more likely that there's going to be no escaping it?

Judy: I think you probably are giving up on the system if you accept that. I mean, why do you live in a democracy, if you have to accept that the government's going to pound on you if they decide to do that? It's going to be tested in court. And a court has never decided before that a state can be sacrificed for something like this, or that an area can be named as a national sacrifice zone. So I think it'll be an interesting court test. The whole nuclear industry, whether it's weapons, the military, or the commercial side, has been marked by surprises. And none of those surprises have ever been good. So they can't show you something where an area was made better by a nuclear facility. It may have had electricity, but so do areas that don't have nuclear power.

Q: Do you think the mistrust you talk about of the DOE and the nuclear industry, do you think it's warranted or do you think some of it's unfair?

Judy: Well, I think it's warranted. We've just heard about all of the nuclear experimentation, the radiation tests that were done on people where they didn't know about it. And we see very callused attitudes. I go to a lot of the meetings that are technical and nature. I've sat at meetings at places like the National Academy, and heard people just very callously talking about health effects. I've heard them say, "Well, what we're talking about here is the problem with cancer. And you know, we're talking about a 10,000-year, 100,000-year, million-year project. And we're going to have a cure for cancer in probably, oh, I bet, 100-200 years. So what's our problem here?"

Q: Bob, from a policy point of view, could you characterize why is it the DOE has lost trust, and how are they projecting their role?

Bob: Well, the Department of Energy has [always] faced an uphill battle in this whole trust arena. I think, at least in the last 10 years or 15 years or so, revelations about the various things that have gone on, not only just in this project. How they've [cooked] the books to get site selection in this particular project, other allegations like that. It stems all the way back to the belief that, in fact, not all the information was given; not all of the warnings that people should have had were given; DOE officials flying their families out of town when there was going to be a weapons shot, to make sure that they weren't harmed. All this has led to (and I don't think any secret) a very large distrust of the Department of Energy, not to mention the nuclear human radiation experiments, which were a part of their culture as well. But all you have to do is look at the number of DOE facilities at around the country where they have tried to manage and contain these materials. And virtually every one of them has failed. The history is long.

What's coupled with that is, they believe in order to try to get this confidence reestablished, that they need to sort of imply that really we're the experts and you're just the citizens and the public, and you really wouldn't understand the kinds of things that we have to understand. And therefore, it's the sort of same old "trust us" business again, that we're the experts. Of course the public, which DOE doesn't not understand, is much smarter, more sophisticated than that, and they know that's not the case. And so they naturally don't trust them at all.

Q: Do you actually think nuclear waste is very dangerous?

Bob: Oh, I don't think there's any doubt about nuclear waste is very dangerous. That's not to say that if, in fact, it was properly and very carefully handled, and it can be managed safely, I believe it likely can be. The question is whether the Department of Energy have the same view of how carefully it has to be managed and contained and dealt with, that everyone else has.

Q: Let's say they've got the stuff to Nevada. It's 500 feet above the water table. It's 80 miles from Nevada. What could happen? Give me a scenario.

Bob: Well, a number of dangers. The first, it seems to me, is seeing some sort of either catastrophic or, over time, release of radionuclides in the groundwater. And that groundwater, which is becoming more vital to southern Nevada daily, as the population grows ...

Q: How's it going to get into the groundwater?

Bob: It's going to get in the groundwater through a number of vehicles. Through water hitting the site, rainwater and other sorts of precipitation events, or running through the mountain ...

Q: It's six inches of water a year, isn't it?

Bob: That's the annual rainfall. There's water contained, as DOE tells us frequently, in the unsaturated zone. These rocks and others are absolutely filled with water, up to 80% or 90% saturation. And this waste coming into contact with a lot of moisture, the canisters, a slow release of this material over time again contaminated groundwater.

Q: This would have to corrode through a 19 inch cask? I mean, this isn't something that's going to happen tomorrow, is it?

Bob: It [is in] a 19 inch cask. It's probably not going to happen tomorrow. But 200 years, 100 years, 300 years is certainly within the time frame that materials can get out of these containers and find its way to the groundwater.

Q: How would an airborne release happen? You're saying, by an earthquake, which would crush the casks or something?

Bob: There's going to be releases of radionuclide materials, carbon-14 and other materials like that, likely as the canisters begin to corrode and break down, will be releasing those kinds of materials into the atmosphere, and will clearly be able to escape Yucca Mountain. Depending on where they go and what their concentration levels are, would depend on what effects may be. But there's a number of potential hazards.

Q: Let's say, for the sake of argument, something happened several hundred years in the future, why should we care about ...

Bob: Why do we care about the future? Well, I think the answer's fairly obvious, in that, in fact, the future is where, in fact, we all are, our children and others are going to be living and having to exist, as well as Nevada's economy and other factors. Of course we care about the future. I mean, this is the argument the industry tells us, that we can't pass this risk on to future generations. And that's why we have to solve this now. I guess our concern or our answer to that argument would be that by doing it wrong now, we're actually perhaps increasing the risk to future generations. In fact, they may have technology and other things that are actually much more sophisticated than we have now (hard to believe), and may be able to handle this a lot better than we are today.

Q: Why should a concern about a possible health defect in 300, 500, 1,000 years, dictate policy now?

Bob: Well, obviously, we want to try to manage materials like this in the safest way possible, so that you don't have fatalities and other sorts of ill health effects from these kinds of things in the future. I mean, that's what we as a society and civilization are all about, is to try and safely manage what we have and protect the resources that we have so that they will be available in the future. Otherwise, you're looking at, geez, the world's going to end in 2020, so [why] care? I mean, it's the whole basis of the entire environmental movement, as well as the basis of civilization at this point.

Q: Already the nuclear stuff that was done during the testing is in soil, shouldn't you be worried about that, more than some potential theoretical risk in the future?

Bob: We are worried about it. I mean, we are involved with monitoring the Department's cleanup of the site. The state has got radiological experts out there assessing, with DOE, assessing what the risk is. But it's like the argument that the industry suggests, that because we have chlorine and gasoline on the highways, and we accept those, that putting more dangerous materials on the highways ought to be okay as well. Adding more risk to a situation that already potentially has some potential health effects to it, doesn't make the whole situation better for anybody.

Q: The figure that the DOE rep showed me was something like 100 millirems per year released into the environment in the Yucca site. Now, that's not very much, is it?

Judy: Yes, it's a lot, because 100 millirem is what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission right now allows for the whole nuclear industry, to have combined together, you know, an exposure of 100 millirem. And when the calculations are done to convert that into numbers of deaths, you have a huge number of deaths over the entire population, over the long term.

Q: Judy, that's half as much, only half as much as the amount anybody gets from radon in a year. And this would be 100 millirems at the site.

Judy: Yes, but it becomes an additional burden. If you see me walking down the hall and I'm carrying a 50-pound sack of potatoes, and you think, "Hey, she's doing all right with that. I've got another 50. I'd just as soon not carry it myself. I'll give it to her also." You're not talking about lessening anything or making something better by doing something else. You're multiplying the burden that somebody would have to take.

The Shoshone Indians are an excellent example. That's their treaty land up there that we're talking about. They have treaty rights to that that are still in full effect. And it's been to court, but there was never a decision handed down on that. And they have suffered some very serious health effects from testing. Now they know that they already have weakened systems. They've already suffered that. And they would be more apt to be harmed by an additional radiation source. And when you talk about, do we worry about people in the future, well, heavens, part of their traditional beliefs are that anything you do, you consider the next seven generations. It's a seven generation sort of thing. And you take a look at what the effects of anything you do would be on seven generations.

Q: If you believe low levels of radiation are a serious health concern, then you have to go after radon, flying in airplanes, medical X-ray, too.

Bob: If you look at how we've arrived at these various technologies that provide the kinds of exposures you're talking about, there are few alternatives. Are there alternatives to nuclear energy? The answer unequivocally is, yes. I mean, there are other sources of energy that clearly don't provide the kind of risk that nuclear energy does. So no, I don't think it's unfair. I think that we have in this country a variety of burdens that are being placed on humans and the environment. And where you have options, where you can actually reduce that burden through other technology, obviously the answer is, yes.

Q: But if less than five percent of the population had their house tested for radon, don't you think that's pretty silly, to ignore a source that was hundreds of times bigger than ...

Bob: Well, you've got how many people in the country are killed, estimated to be killed by radon exposure? Forty thousand a year in this country? Some astronomical number.

Q: So why aren't you doing something about that?

Bob: Well, it's not something that's easily be done about. We could do something about our energy sources. We can look at other means of generating electricity in this country, reduce demand, and find other ways of generating power, as opposed to what's gone on with the industry today.

Q: Now, I got to ask you, are you out to save Nevada from the repository or are you out to stop nuclear power?

Bob: My job is to protect the citizens, their health and safety in this state, to carry out the state's policy objectives, which are to prevent a repository from coming [to] Nevada. And that's my role. That's my job. And that's what I'm focused on.

Q: It's not beyond that?

Bob: No.

Q: So you wouldn't care particularly if nuclear power survived this?

Bob: As a personal choice, I might. But as it relates to what my job is for the state, and doing what we're chartered to do, both under the federal and state law, it's really repository-related.

Q: Judy, can I ask the same question to you? I mean, is your objective to protect Nevada, or ultimately to shut down nuclear power?

Judy: My objective with the work that I do is to provide ways or to assist citizens in becoming more involved in the process, and to allow them access to decisions that are made that directly affect them.

But I don't see Nevada or any other place being the solution to the waste problem. Why should we have waste in 110 places, when we could have it all in just one spot and it would be safe? Well, that's a lie. When a truck leaves, full of nuclear waste out of a fuel pool at a reactor site, those spots in that pool are then filled with fresh waste. So you haven't taken the waste from that site. You've just made room for newer waste. And then you've added one more waste site in the country.

Q: But what's wrong with that? We have lots of waste sites in different industries. A chemical company couldn't function if they couldn't get rid of waste.

Judy: Well, I would imagine, if I knew as much about particular chemicals that create very bad wastes, I would have different answers on that. I know about this one. And the risk that you're talking about for Nevadans and for people along those corridors is an imposed risk. When you talk about the risk of radiation in an airplane, if that's something that bothers you, you don't fly. If you're concerned about the radiation danger that you would get from an x-ray. In various cases, there are people who shouldn't get x-rays. And they can choose not to do that. And people will always say, "Well, there's hundreds of thousands of people dying of smoking cigarettes. Why are they worried about this thing?" Well, that's a choice. And it's very different when your government or a commercial industry imposes an unwanted risk on you.

Q: What about the risks with other kinds of energy generation? The risks with coal power are well known, including air pollution and sulphur dioxide.

Bob: Well, from our perspective it's not a larger risk in Nevada. Clearly, there's some price to be paid for most all energy sources, from one or another. The problem with this one is the risk is much greater; the cost is much greater. The dilemma about invoking the kinds of arguments about forcing people to take facilities they don't want, other kinds of things, are invoked with this particular risk that are much greater.

Q: It's well known that burning coal causes lung disease, causes all kinds of things--heavy metal pollution. You're talking about the normal functioning of this industry. Now, the normal functioning of the nuclear industry wouldn't have unexposed waste. How do you argue that dry cask storage waste is more dangerous than the normal emissions from coal?

Bob: Well, I don't think I'm going to prove to you that dry cask storage is a greater risk than some sort of byproduct from coal. And that's why we believe that this stuff ought to remain at the site. It's been carefully managed. There's not been any accidents with it. There's not really been any ill health effects from storing this stuff at a reactor site. And I think that, from our perspective, is where we ought to go in the short run with this material.

Q: Dry casks at a nuclear site, or dry casks somewhere in the Nevada desert, if you're talking about some interim storage period, right, the risks aren't going to be any different, are they?

Bob: Well, they are going to be different between the two you mentioned, between at reactor storage versus a multiple handling operation and transporting this stuff to some other location. That's where the risk, from my perspective, lies in the short run, is through this multiple handling and transporting material. If we both agree that, in fact, in some sort of dry cask sealed containers, these materials don't pose a great deal of risk, then there's simply no reason to move them, to begin with.

Q: If we had this debate in France, where 75% of their electricity comes from nuclear, the French people would argue that their nuclear program has conferred major environmental benefits. Your response?

Judy: Well, if the people of France are sold on their nuclear industry, I think that's exactly what they should have. People in the United States have very seldom been asked. And when they do get asked, I don't like the question, "Do you want coal or do you want nuclear?" There are a whole lot of other options out there. The people of Nevada are very excited over the prospect of solar being pursued at actually the same area, the nuclear test site area, and that solar would come about from the southwest, where we've got everything you need for solar here, a tremendous amount of sunshine. There are places now using wind. But I think it needs to go out to public debate. The public also needs to be asked, and to respond to what they think about conservation. We use tremendously more electricity in this country than you use in a lot of Scandinavian or European countries. And we could probably cut back our energy use by a fourth, a third, a tremendous percent. And would you be willing to do that? Would you be willing to make the investment that that takes? Would you be willing to live the lifestyle that that takes? The people have never been asked.

Q: So basically, you don't have an objection if people participate and decide they want to go nuclear, and the democratic process is being acted out. That's fine.

Judy: If it was a completely full, open, honest situation where the people knew, were given guarantees that if this is not something you want, we will not build it, yes, I would back away from that argument. I would never try and talk somebody into something.

Q: Bob, I want to talk now what you think's going to happen in future and so forth, the policy, how we resolve this as a society.

Bob: Well, first of all, I don't think that a repository is going to be built at Yucca Mountain. Not now or in the future.

Q: Just for that, you're confident, you think. Why? What makes you so certain?

Bob: Well, I think the technical challenges, number one, at the site are too large for the Department of Energy to handle, in terms of the site performance over time.

Q: But let's say they say, "This site is suitable."

Bob: I'm giving you a list of issues. That's certainly one of them. I think that is yet to be understood, is the sort of legal challenge, that the state and others will raise about the facility itself. I think there's still a fundamental question about, well, the threat is there that this government will force a facility on a state that doesn't want it. I not sure that, in fact, the political will, if you would, is there to actually do that. In particular, at a time when we're talking about the return of power to the states, less federal government intrusion, whether or not those sorts of principles are going to come in conflict.

I think probably the single biggest problem is going to be cost, whether or not the country is going to want to step up to the plate to experience the kind of costs that a facility like Yucca Mountain perhaps may be as much as $50 billion life cycle cost.

Q: So money could kill it. Now bring in your transport point ... about your conception ...

Bob: Well, the other unknown element in this whole debate is, of course, the issue of transportation--when communities and states throughout the country began to realize the amount of materials that are going to be traveling through their neighborhoods.

Q: Explain to me why keeping the waste in dry cask storage in reactors in many locations quite close to cities, is safe; and putting it 80 miles out in some monitorable, retrievable site in the middle of the Nevada desert, in the same casks, is not safe?

Bob: Well, it's the assumptions that you're talking about, number one. We have talked before, and as, for example, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is willing at least to certify that at-reactor storage in the short run, meaning in increments of 20 years, up to maybe 150 years, as is safe as a repository. The real problem, obviously, is, as we talked earlier, is the multiple handling and transporting this material through all the cities and towns across the country to a location, if in fact you don't know ultimately that's the location where you're going to put it. And that's the argument against interim storage, in many respects, is the possibility of having to pick this stuff up, package it, and transport it twice, first of all, maybe to the interim storage site, and secondly, to a repository, makes no sense at all.

Q: Do you think the nuclear industry, which is in a bit of a problem at the moment, particularly because of the waste issue in this country, could ever bounce back?

Bob: At least, it doesn't appear in the short run. And I don't think it's strictly from a waste disposal perspective. When we look at things that are going on in Wall Street and the people who finance these things, they don't want to have anything to do with them. They have proven to be white elephants. Whether or not that will continue in the future or not, I think, remains to be seen. Obviously, there's going to be a number of factors involved in there: the cost of other energy sources, whether new improvements in technology and generation, nuclear generation comes about. And certainly, the waste problem is going to be a big piece of that equation.

Q: Are you confident that you will defeat the plans for this repository? And do you think people will look back from the future and look at it as a folly?

Judy: I certainly do, because I don't think you're going to get public approval. And there are a lot of people out there across the spectrum that say you're going to need a public that goes along with this thing. You really can't do a successful project when you've got a warring community with the project.

But I think one of the characteristics of the Nuclear Age has been to act first and pay the consequences later. At Yucca Mountain, they originally were supposed to characterize that site with two vertical shafts, two relatively small (by comparison with the tunnel that you see there now) vertical shafts that would have gone down and would have taken a look at the rock that was in there and investigated it. Instead, they thought that they could save money, cut corners, and actually have the [main?] to the repository all done when they finish this tunnel. At the plant sites you've got casks that have been loaded with no plan, no way of knowing how to unload them if you had to do that. It always seems as though there's a quick fix put in, or an un-thought-out action that then later turns out to be wrong. And when you have that kind of a history, and it's consistent, you can count on it. You're not going to get public confidence.

And so what many, many of the mainstream environmental or public interest groups are now calling for is an independent commission to completely look at nuclear waste policy in this country. And I think if you were looking at nuclear waste policy, you probably would get into all forms of nuclear energy, the whole works, because part of what they want (and I think, what they need) is to have waste reclassified as far as its danger is concerned. We have very silly ways that we classify waste. There needs to be more serious work done on how dangerous the stuff is, how long-lived it is, and actually classified so that we can manage it, we can isolate it, we can do what we need to do when we set about the business of actually solving the problem.

Q: If we shut down all the reactors in America today, we would still have this problem to solve.

Judy: Right. But then, it would be bounded.

Bob: Then it's finite...

Judy: And you would have 30,000 tons of waste. And you would set about the business of deciding whether there was some way that you could treat it to make it less long-lived, if you wanted to pursue that. You'd have an exact amount of waste that you knew what to do with, or that you were dealing with, and could decide what to do. And that would change attitudes tremendously.

Q: There's some resemblance to the technical solutions that have been discussed and debated?

Judy: I don't know. There has been some work done on something called transmutation, where there's a process that's very, very expensive right now, where you would treat it in some way and it would change the nature of the waste to make it less dangerous for a much shorter period of time. And to say that it's too expensive is ridiculous, because 30 years ago, if we had wanted a computer, all of us in this room would have had to probably pool our lifetime earnings to get a computer that would have just about fit in this room. And now most of us, on our own, can afford a laptop. And it was because there was the will to do the kind of research to discover breakthroughs and to really, you know, firm up the technology.

Q: I want to return to stigma. For somebody who's never been to Las Vegas and doesn't really know much about the economy, just explain.

Bob: Well, Nevada has no income tax. And the reason why its tax base is very low is that 80% or 90% of the revenue the state gets to operate comes from tourists and gaming. It's the major industry in Nevada. It's of course built on a perception about fun and other sorts of things that go on here. And I think the problem is that if even a small percentage of people decide they don't want to come back again because of these activities that are going on, that they don't believe in, they don't believe are compatible with them traveling in Nevada or visiting here, it's going to pose a significant risk to the economy. The public's perception (often talked about perception being reality) is likely going to dictate behavior and how they're going to view whether or not they're going to go to Los Angeles as a family to visit, Disneyland, or come to the MGM Grande, if the deciding portion of that has to do with some of these things they're going to have to travel with to get there, I think many people believe that it will drive people away. And I think that data we have to date suggests that's the case.


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