BIOWEAPONS RESEARCH AT LANL?
On February 26, 2002, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) approved the contruction and operation of two biological safety laboratories - level 3 (BSL-3) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), saying that there would be no significant impact to public health or the environment. These laboratories could work with live anthrax, TB, botulinum toxin and plague.
The approval is based on a final Environmental Assessment, the first level of environmental analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Nearly 200 community members wrote letters and over 1,200 signed petitions requesting that the Department of Energy (DOE) and NNSA prepare a more detailed analysis, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), citing safety and security concerns. Senator Bingaman and Representative Udall supported community concerns and requested and EIS, but they were ignored also.
In the meantime, we have learned a lot more about the plans of DOE/NNSA to build more BSL-3 laboratories around the DOE complex, including at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Now we need to ask for a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), meaning an environmental impact statement that will look at the current and future plans of the DOE/NNSA program. The Chemical and Biological National Security Program (CBNP) began in 1997. Their budget grew 115% between fiscal year 2001 and 2002! This is a rate of increase that is greater than the nuclear weapons program!
The construction is on the fast track:
Design work - June 2002
Construction to begin - September, 2002
Project closeout - October, 2003.
NOW IS THE TIME TO PULL THE FUNDING FOR THIS PROJECT!
CALL OUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES. TELL THEM YOU DON'T WANT ANY FUNDING TO GO TOWARDS PLANNING OR CONSTRUCTING THE APPROVED BSL-3 LABORATORIES AT LANL UNTIL A PROGRAMMATIC ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT IS PREPARED BY DOE/NNSA! Remember to thank Senator Bingaman and Representative Udall for their support of a full EIS.
Senator Pete Domenici
(505) 988-6511; fax (505) 988 6514
Senator Jeff Bingaman
(202) 224-5521; fax (202) 224-2852
(505) 988-6647; fax (505) 992-8435
Representative Tom Udall
(202) 225- 6190; fax (202) 226-1331
(505) 984-8950; fax (505) 986-5047
Representative Heather Wilson
(202) 225-6316; fax (202) 225-4975
(505) 346-6781; fax (505) 346-6723
For more information, contact: Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (505) 986-1973; New Mexico Toxics Coalition (505) 982-2609; Nuclear Watch New Mexico (505) 989-7342 nukewatch.org; Peace Action New Mexico (505) 989-4812; or Cathie Sullivan, interested citizen (505) 982-7144.
March 23, 2002