"When you're a utility and you're moving upstream against the future chairman of the senate finance committee and the administration, you know it's time to take a very critical look at where you're heading," said Xcel Energy CEO Dick Kelly.
In their Tuesday meeting, Hatch reportedly laid out the "significant obstacles he has raised and will raise with Xcel," while Utah's senior senator and the deputy secretary also discussed the "company's need for alternative solutions to Skull Valley."
Sen. Reid, the Democratic senate minority leader and a Utah State University graduate, announced Tuesday "he will drop his opposition to a provision that would create a new wilderness area near the Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation," a news release from his office said.
The wilderness designation could potentially prevent the opening of a nuclear waste storage facility on the reservation, something Utah's elected leaders have fiercely opposed. Reid has traditionally op-posed the provision out of concerns it would set a bad precedent for future wilderness designation. But, after a recent conversation with Utah's Senator Bob Bennett, Reid agreed to set aside his concerns in order to help the efforts of Sen. Bennett and other state officials to prevent the nuclear site from opening.
"The (Utah Congressional) delegation has all been working very hard to try and stop PFS from depositing nuclear waste there," Mayfield said. That effort, combined with Reid's change in position, are seen as "part of an effort of trying to block nuclear storage" to the area.
Were the nuclear waste allowed to be stored above-ground there, it could infringe on training exercises by HAFB personnel, especially of newer aircraft that require even more space than is already used.
"I'm pleased that Sen. Hatch has taken another approach to working with the industry people, saying, hey, we just don't want this to happen; we're going to fight you every step of the way," Mayfield added.
Rep. Rob Bishop, meanwhile, has championed the wilderness designation for the site.