Richardson Advocates for Fewer Nukes
Bill Richardson, New Mexico Governor and Democratic presidential candidate, said the United States must dramatically reduce its nuclear weapons stockpile, return to a policy of negotiations and reduce energy use in order to take the lead in addressing global struggles.
"We want other countries to take the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT] seriously. If we are going to do that, we need to start taking it seriously ourselves. This means leading a global effort- a new global effort to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world including our own. And we need to upgrade and tighten the [NPT], modernize it to prevent states from legally developing their nuclear capabilities, and then opting out of the treaty as they rush to build bombs." Governor Richardson said, in a speech titled the New Realism and the Rebirth of American Leadership.
Richardson emphasized the importance of negotiations. He believes that at the same time that the United States decreases the number of nuclear weapons, it must increase military spending in order to assure the "big stick" necessary to back up a negotiation process.
It is not clear how Richardson's statements will impact New Mexico. Two of the nation's nuclear laboratories, Los Alamos and Sandia, are located in his state.
In addition, there are two memorials currently moving in the New Mexico Legislature which are in line with Richardson's statements regarding the reduction of nuclear weapons. Senate Memorial 29 asks the Departments of Energy and Defense to dismantle and remove the more than 2,000 nuclear weapons reported to be stored at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. In addition, Senate Joint Memorial 47 opposes the production of new nuclear weapons in the Department of Energy (DOE) Complex 2030 proposal, which aims at building a new line of nuclear weapons to replace those which are to be dismantled. This proposal is particularly relevant to New Mexico, because Los Alamos National Laboratory is one of the sites nominated by DOE to house a new plutonium center where most nuclear weapons activities would take place.
Joni Arends, of CCNS said, "activists support Richardson's stance on the reduction of nuclear weapons but want to see him take action during this legislative session. New Mexico is a great place to work for global nonproliferation."
Congressional House Passes Bill to Convert DOE Headquarters to Solar Energy
Recently, the Congressional House approved a bill to power DOE headquarters with a solar energy system, with the intention that the project will serve as a model for all federal buildings. As a result the bill has been moved to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Representative Oberstar, of Minnesota who sponsored the bill, said the federal government has a responsibility to encourage innovation that will help minimize global warming, increase energy independence and reduce the cost of solar energy.
He said, "What better symbol than the Department of Energy itself, to operate on renewable energy? Let's showcase this project. Let's show definitively this works."