Extend Public Comment Periods for Nuclear Weapons Facilities During Pandemic

CCNS has created a Change.org petition urging U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich to extend the public comment periods for three Supplement Analyses for three key U.S. nuclear weapons facilities during the pandemic. Both Senators are members of key congressional committees with oversight of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)  https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/about and https://www.heinrich.senate.gov/committees .

Go to http://chng.it/nZMrHMH6F8 to sign and share widely.

Recently DOE and NNSA released Supplement Analyses for three facilities – the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico https://www.energy.gov/nepa/downloads/doeeis-0380-sa-06-draft-supplement-analysis , the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee https://www.energy.gov/nepa/downloads/doeeis-0387-sa-04-draft-supplement-analysis , and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina https://www.energy.gov/nepa/downloads/doeeis-0541-draft-environmental-impact-statement .  Each analysis is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Each is a complex technical document with multiple pages of references, including the DOE’s foundational 1996 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Stockpile Stewardship and Management Environment Impact Statement https://www.energy.gov/nepa/eis-0236-programmatic-environmental-impact-statement-stockpile-stewardship-and-management

After the Cold War, which ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the DOE struggled with what the federal agency would become.  It came up with the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program, which would manage the nuclear weapons stockpile.  Over time, DOE proposed many projects for upgraded and new facilities across the nuclear weapons complex, which are now the subjects of the Supplement Analyses.  They are the proposed upgrades to LANL’s Plutonium Facility and the Radiological Laboratory Utility and Office Building; the construction of a Uranium Processing Facility at Oak Ridge; and modifying the unfinished Mixed Oxide Facility into a Plutonium Processing Facility at Savannah River.  These projects were proposed in the 1996 environmental statement and enhanced in a series of later environmental statements.

On April 8th, 22 U.S. Senators, including Udall and Heinrich, wrote the Office of Management and Budget requesting “all federal agencies to indefinitely extend all open or announced upcoming public comment periods ….”

The Senators recognized the public’s role in the NEPA process.  They wrote, “[t]he American public is not only legally entitled to a meaningful opportunity to participate in these important proceedings; their participation is crucial to ensuring that agencies’ work is carried out effectively.  The public is an invaluable source of expertise for agency decision-makers, and their ability to weigh in on agency decisions advances the good government goals of accountability.  Yet, such meaningful participation is an impossibility for tens of millions of Americans during this pandemic emergency period.  We cannot reasonably expect the public to redirect attention from protecting themselves and families to comment on federal agency … proceedings that while important, are not related to the crisis at hand or its response.”  4.8.20 United States Senate Letter to OMB Acting Director Vought FINAL[1]

1. We hope everyone is safe and staying home.  CCNS continues to work to expose and oppose the proposals of the nuclear weapons complex during the pandemic. Please support CCNS financially as we continue our oversight, community organizing, and providing opportunities for you to participate in these efforts.  Monthly contributions are needed.  Please sign up at http://nuclearactive.org/    

2. Wednesday, April 22nd is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!  Ah, the memories. To learn more about a digital Earth Day event near you, go to https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/

3. Wednesday, April 22nd from 7 to 8:30 pm – free on Zoom – SOMOS and the Taos Environmental Film Festival present Earth Day and Global Peace, a benefit for Holy Cross Hospital. To learn more about this literary and musical evening and the Zoom address, go to https://somostaos.org/calendar/#event=38606160 and https://www.facebook.com/taoseff/

4. Please contact the New Mexico congressional members and ask them to extend the public comment period for the Draft Supplement Analysis for LANL at:

Senator Tom Udall – https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/contact/email-tom

Senator Martin Heinrich – https://www.heinrich.senate.gov/contact/write-martin

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (zipcodes in CD-3 only) – https://lujan.house.gov/contact/mail

Rep. Deb Haaland (zipcodes in CD-1 only) – https://haaland.house.gov/zip-code-lookup?form=/contact/email-me

Rep. Xochitl Torres-Small (zipcodes in CD-2 only) – https://torressmall.house.gov/contact/emailme


9 a.m. EDT in New York/Boston/Washington, D.C.

3 p.m. in Central Europe

10 p.m. April 26th in Tokyo

REGISTRATION: https://bit.ly/abolishnuclear

In the context of the suffering and changes being wrought by the pandemic, the two- hour world conference will focus on the continuing urgent need to abolish nuclear weapons and its relationship to stanching the climate emergency and challenging injustices which have left so many people marginalized and vulnerable. Additional sessions of the World Conference and four workshops will be for a healthier time in the future.

To accommodate people across the world the conference will be held at 9 a.m. New York/Boston time (3 p.m. in Europe, 10 p.m. in East Asia) with simultaneous interpretation. The conference will be held in concentric circles with up to 500 people in the conference itself with simultaneous live streaming so everyone can join by listening in. The conference will also be recorded and posted and made available on the worldconference2020.org and co-sponsors sites for continuing availability.

Speakers include:
• Sharon Burrows (ITUC, Australia)
• Reiner Braun (IPB, Germany)
• Joseph Gerson (AFSC/CPDCS/IPB, USA)
• Emad Kiyaei (IDG Group, Iran)
• Hiroshi Takakusaki (Gensuikyo, Japan)
• Rev. Liz Theoharis (Poor People’s Campaign, USA)
• Dr. Carlos Umana (IPPNW, Costa Rica)
• Wada Masako (Japan Confederation of A- & H- Bomb Sufferers Organizations, Japan)

Invitations pending to United Nations Office for Disarmament, the Sunrise Movement, and Marshall Islands

For more information:  JGerson80@gmail.com



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