"We never objected to paying the fee when there was a program," said Michigan utility commissioner Greg White, who has been fighting the fee for years. "But people shouldn't be paying for something that doesn't exist."
In a sharply worded opinion last fall, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed, calling the DOE analysis of the fee collection "absolutely useless." The court also noted that there may be enough money in the fund to build a dump already: "The government apparently has no idea."
In 2002 Congress approved Nevada's Yucca Mountain as a site for a national nuclear waste dump and $9.5 billion was withdrawn from the fund to develop the project, according to the Government Accountability Office. But the project has been criticized as inadequate and flawed and is fiercely opposed by Nevadans. President Obama, fulfilling a campaign promise, cut funding for the program, withdrew its license application, and dismantled the office that was working on it.
"It's a victory for customers," White said of the end of the fee collection. "But it's bittersweet because we'd still rather see a (nuclear waste) site."
—By The Associated Press