While the Senate takes up legislation to start a new effort to develop a permanent resting place for nuclear waste, the House is waiting on the outcome of litigation, Republicans in the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment & the Economy said July 31. During a panel hearing, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) said House Republican party leaders are waiting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to rule in a court case before pursuing new waste legislation. Pending before the court is the question of whether the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must resume its licensing proceeding for constructing a permanent high-level waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Meanwhile, the Senate has taken up bipartisan legislation to form a new agency to manage nuclear waste disposal and to start a new siting process for a repository (see story above). Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) said that while he backs building a repository at Yucca Mountain, he would support legislation to pursue other options for dealing with the mounting waste now stored at nuclear power plants in California and across the nation. However, Barton said he would hope the legislation wouldn\u2019t necessarily rule out eventually using the Yucca Mountain site, where the Department of Energy has spent more than $10 billion on site investigation and assessment work since the late 1980s. In the pending litigation, Aiken County, South Carolina, Nye County, Nevada, and other parties are challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission\u2019s decision in 2011 halting further consideration of any license for department to build the facility. The court in 2012 decided to hold up consideration of the lawsuit until Congress dealt with appropriations for the site. A Democratically-controlled Congress suspended funding for Yucca Mountain beginning in 2012 after President Obama decided not to pursue building a facility there anymore in the face of political gridlock over the site. Now, a Republican-controlled House has acted to appropriate money, Republican members pointed out during the hearing. Consequently, Upton said he expects a decision from the court any day. \tHowever, secretary of energy Ernest Moniz insisted legislation ultimately would be needed to make progress on long-term disposal of nuclear waste. He said that the only way to successfully locate a facility would be to make sure it\u2019s a technically sound site and to gain the consensus of the state and local governments. \tBarton pointed out that Loving County in Texas has adopted a resolution indicating interest in hosting a permanent repository. Since then, he said, county officials have been working to gain state support. The county has a population of 71, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Barton ventured that it\u2019s possible the Texas Legislature might pass a bill that would allow localities in the state, like Loving County, to compete for a repository. Moniz said he envisions that upon enactment of new legislation, the federal government would issue a request for proposals for sites which states and localities would compete to win.