A Clear Case of Disqualification of NMED Deputy Cabinet Secretary Stephanie Stringer
This week the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) provided evidence to CCNS and Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE) that Stephanie Stringer, a New Mexico Environment Department Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Chair of the New Mexico Water Quality Commission, made adjudicatory decisions against the non-governmental organizations while she was applying for NNSA employment. This is the second time NNSA has hired an adjudicatory decision-maker during an ongoing proceeding addressing the groundwater discharge permit, DP-1132, for the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory. http://nuclearactive.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/190606-CCW-Petition-for-Mandamus-2019-06-06.pdf , see ¶¶ 14 – 24.
This time, Stephanie Stringer, after applying for the NNSA job, demonstrated her bias by not recusing herself from the matter. She voted against the NGOs in the requested permit review before the Water Quality Control Commission.
Because the Facility handles, treats and stores hazardous waste, the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as implemented by the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act, must regulate it. The New Mexico Water Quality Act excludes the regulation of hazardous waste facilities.
After decades of public opposition, on May 5, 2022, the Environment Department issued the final groundwater discharge permit. On June 6th, the NGOs filed an appeal of the permit to the Commission. https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/ , scroll down to Water Quality Control Commission to Case No. WQCC 22-21: Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety and Honor Our Pueblo Existence’s Petition for Review of NMED Ground Water Discharge Permit DP-1132.
On July 29th, the NNSA job was posted. Stringer submitted her application on August 7th – two days before the first Commission hearing on the permit. Because the NGOs had appealed a federal discharge permit for the Facility to the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), NNSA, Triad National Security, LLC, and the Environment Department had asked for a stay. Stringer called for a vote on the stay motion until the EAB issued a decision. The motion passed.
Chair Stringer had an interview with the NNSA on August 23rd. The following week she signed the Commission’s order granting a stay of all the proceedings pending an EAB decision.
On the next day, August 31st, NNSA offered Stringer a position.
With the job offer in hand, Stringer continued working for the Environment Department and as the Commission Chair through a hearing on September 13th. At the hearing, the NGOs moved to reverse the groundwater discharge permit based on the Water Quality Act statutory limitation. Chair Stringer seconded a motion to deny reversal of the permit.
On October 31st, Stringer resigned her state position and on November 6th, reported for work with NNSA.
The NGOs have filed a motion before the Commission to vacate the decisions in which Chair Stringer participated.
- Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 6 pm MST – Night with the Experts welcomes Dr. Edwin Lyman discussing Guinea Pig Nation: How the NRC’s new licensing rules could turn communities into test beds for risky, experimental nuclear plants, hosted by Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS). View the flyer here: Night With Experts Dr Lyman3 Use this ZOOM link to join the session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82689371046?pwd=YkFuQTdKa2hKbmo2T2xtVzVCdmJCZz09
- Friday, November 18th from noon to 1 pm – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi and others. Join us about next steps toward nuclear disarmament.
- Tuesday, November 22nd from 5:30 pm to 8 pm at Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos – reception, author talk and book signing for Nuclear Nuevo México, by Dr. Myrriah Gómez. Dr. Myrriah Gómez will discuss her book Nuclear Nuevo México. Contrary to previous works that suppress Nuevomexicana/o presence throughout U.S. nuclear history, Nuclear Nuevo México focuses on recovering the voices and stories that have been lost or ignored in the telling of this history. By recuperating these narratives, Myrriah Gómez tells a new story of New Mexico, one in which the nuclear history is not separate from the collective colonial history of Nuevo México but instead demonstrates how earlier eras of settler colonialism laid the foundation for nuclear colonialism in New Mexico. https://www.samizdatbookstore.com/event/nuclear-nuevo-m%C3%A9xico-myrriah-g%C3%B3mez
- WIPP – The responses to questions asked at the July 7th WIPP Community Forum in Santa Fe have been posted to the WIPP website. https://wipp.energy.gov/Library/documents/2022/WIPP_Community_Forum_Q&A_7-7-22.pdf The video recording of the October 24, 2022 WIPP Community Forum at the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino have been posted. Please note there is no audio until 3:58 of the recording – https://wipp.energy.gov/Library/documents/2022/10-24_Community_Forum.mp4
Tags: CCNS, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, DP-1132, EAB, Environmental Appeals Board, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, HOPE, LANL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Nuclear Security Administration, New Mexico Environment Department, New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act, New Mexico Water Quality Act, New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission, NGOs, NNSA, non-governmental organizations, Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility, RCRA, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Stephanie Stringer, Triad National Security LLC