700 Petition Signatures Demanding Two EISs Delivered to Congressional Offices
photo: Kay Matthews, La Jicarita On-line Magazine
In response to the proposed $20 billion dollar increase in the Department of Energy (DOE) 2021 Federal Budget, over 700 activists and interested parties signed petitions that were delivered to staff members of Senators Udall and Heinrich, Representative Lujan, and Governor Lujan Grisham on Tuesday, March 10th. The petitions ask them to demand that DOE conduct a programmatic environmental impact statement (programmatic EIS) followed by a new site-wide environmental impact statement (site-wide EIS) for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) before any proposed expanded plutonium pit production and associated infrastructure projects begin.
The petitions represent organizations ranging from the Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures, CCNS, La Jicarita On-line Magazine https://lajicarita.wordpress.com/2020/03/11/over-750-lanl-petition-signatures-delivered-to-nm-congressional-delegation/ , Veterans for Peace http://www.vfp-santafe.org/home.html , Earth Care https://www.earthcarenm.org/ , Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) https://www.youthunited4climatecrisisaction.org/ , New Energy Economy https://www.newenergyeconomy.org/ , to the Nuclear Issues Study Group https://www.facebook.com/NuclearIssuesStudyGroup/ .
Arguments in favor of demanding a programmatic EIS before the site-wide EIS include: in 1998, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided the specific conditions under which DOE must conduct a programmatic EIS. One is required before DOE commits its resources “to detailed engineering design,
testing, procurement, or installment of pit production capability for a capacity in excess of the level that has been analyzed in the [Stockpile Stewardship & Management Program] [programmatic] EIS.” The analyzed capacity is 50 plutonium pits per year at LANL under routine conditions, and 80 pits per year under multiple shift operations. Natural Resources Defense Council v. Pena, 20 F. Supp. 2d 45 (D.D.C. 1998) at https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp2/20/45/2423390/
At present, DOE is planning to commit its resources at LANL and the Savannah River Site before conducting a programmatic EIS.
The 1998 decision requires DOE to analyze via a programmatic EIS “the reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts of and alternatives to operating such an enhanced capacity.” But DOE, putting the cart before the horse, wants to commit taxpayer dollars to expanding pit production before conducting the programmatic EIS.
New Mexicans want to see what DOE’s big plans are. Perhaps DOE will discover that the unfinished Savannah River Site Mixed Oxide Facility cannot be converted to a plutonium pit facility for 50 pits per year. [The backsliding has begun – https://www.exchangemonitor.com/lanl-pit-plant-make-much-less-transuranic-waste-s-c-pit-plant-nnsa-estimates/ ] Then what? Because LANL is the only DOE facility with the capacity to fabricate pits, DOE most likely will say that LANL must fabricate 80 pits per year. Therefore, the requirements of the court decision must be fulfilled before a site-wide EIS is prepared for LANL. New Mexicans deserve no less.
Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “We will continue to gather signatures asking for both environmental impact statements. It is essential for the public to learn about the extent of DOE’s plans for both the Savannah River Site and LANL. Please join the effort!” Petition PEIS before LANL SWEIS 2-26-20
1. There are many upcoming events – all subject to change due to the virus pandemic. If you are at home, consider writing a letter to the editor about your concerns. Please take care of yourself – you know the drill – wash your hands with good old soap and water; get enough rest; and take the opportunity to be with yourself.
2. Sunday, March 15th from 1 to 5 pm. You are cordially invited to attend the Third Annual Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Benefit at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, in Albuquerque. There will be music, dancing, door prizes, a silent auction, food and drinks, and lots of fun! For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/ EVENT POSTPONED
3. Our detailed 2020 calendar is available at 2020 Events 3-5-20
Tags: Department of Energy, DOE, Earth Care, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Joni Arends, La Jicarita On-line Magazine, LANL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Energy Economy, Nuclear Issues Study Group, PEIS, Petition Signatures, plutonium pits, programmatic environmental impact statement, Representative Ben Ray Lujan, Savannah River Site Mixed Oxide Facility, Senator Martin Heinrich, Senator Tom Udall, site-wide environmental impact statement, Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program, SWEIS, Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Veterans for Peace, Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA)