"Mount Reagan" could rise again, after a bill to name a Nevada peak after America's 40th President passed a Republican-majority House committee vote this week. The peak, outside of Las Vegas, was thought to be free from the threat of Reaganification last December, after Rep. Dina Titus, a Nevada Democrat pre-empted an earlier "Mount Reagan" bill by introducing a proposal to name the same mountain after the state's first female lieutenant governor, Maude Frazier. If the new plan succeeds, the mountain would become the 87th landmark or federal facility in the U.S. to bear Reagan's name.
Now, there are plenty of reasons why some Democrats might be opposed to a move seen as part of a national campaign to name something after the conservative president in every single state. But opponents to the proposal have a lot of material to work with when it comes to Reagan's relationship to Nevada. For many longtime Nevada residents, Reagan is the man responsible for approving a long-standing proposal to turn the state's Yucca Mountain into a nuclear waste repository. The proposal was known at the end of the Reagan presidency as the "Screw Nevada" plan, which the president signed in 1987. So naturally, ranking House Natural Resources Committee member Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon proposed naming Yucca after Reagan instead:
“I think if we were going to name something after the president, it oughtta be something...the president supported that was extraordinarily significant to the state of Nevada — and that is Yucca Mountain. I think the Ronald Reagan Mountain, which would look over the Ronald Reagan Nuclear Waste Repository, would be a much more appropriate commemoration of his service."
Shockingly, House Republicans stuck to their plan to name a peak of Frenchman Mountain after Reagan. The original counter-proposal by Democrats — that a second (and actually higher) peak of Frenchman be named after Frazier — was nowhere to be found in the proposal passed by the committee.
The "Mount Reagan" plan is part of a project by a conservative group called Citizen Outreach that describes as mission as "irritating liberals." In any case, the dream to name a Nevada peak after Reagan probably won't make it past the House: it's extremely unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada would bring up a bill to name a mountain after Reagan in his own state.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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