Over 100 Taoseans Protest, Attend Proposed LANL Bomb Factory Public Meeting

June 10, 2011

Taoseans came out to either protest, attend, or do both, for the Department of Energy (DOE) June 8th public meeting about the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed $6 billion Nuclear Facility, which is part of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). DOE decided not to hold a public hearing in Taos because they claimed there would be no environmental impacts from the proposed bomb factory. Nevertheless, smoke from the Arizona wildfire continued to fill the Rio Grande watershed and covered Taos.

Senator Udall and Representative Lujan had requested a public hearing in Taos, but DOE refused to offer an equal opportunity for public comment as was provided at the hearings held in Albuquerque, Los Alamos, Espanola, and Santa Fe. Staff from the congressional offices was present.

Robin Collier, with Cultural Energy, who had recorded the previous public hearings, documented the Taos events. When he arrived to record the meeting, Roger Snyder, the DOE Deputy Director of LANL, told Collier that he could only record the DOE presentations, not public comments. DOE did not stop the recording, which is posted, along with photos, on the Cultural Energy website at www.culturalenergy.org/lanl.htm.

Four formal public hearings about the draft statement were held the week of May 23rd. The agenda included a 30-minute poster session before the hearing in which attendees could speak with subject matter experts. Copies of the posters were available, along with comment forms and pens in which to write the comments. Inside the hearing room, a court reporter documented the oral comments. The hearings were facilitated and a DOE representative made a short presentation at the last three hearings.

In contrast to the earlier hearings, four DOE representatives made power point presentations at the Taos meeting. The meeting was not facilitated; no paper copies of the presentations were provided; no copies of the posters were available; no pens were provided to fill out the comment forms; and the full contingent of subject matter experts were not present. Further, no court reporter was present to record public comments.

Snyder told the audience that he chose not to hold a public hearing in Taos because he wanted to have a conversation with the community. Unfortunately, the DOE speakers provided history lessons instead of directly answering the questions posed and presented circular arguments in support of the proposed new, shiny bomb factory.

After reading about the scheduled meeting in the Thursday, June 2 Taos News, CodePink organizers Jeanne Green and Marilyn Hoff informed the community about the public meeting through many dedicated hours of tabling.

Public comments are due Tuesday, June 28, 2011.

Questions or Comments concerning the draft CMRR-Nuclear Facility Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) may be submitted to:

Mr. John Tegtmeier, CMRR-NF
SEIS Document Manager
NNSA Los Alamos Site Office
3747 West Jemez Road
TA-3 Building 1410
Los Alamos, New Mexico, 87544

or by facsimile (505) 6675948

or by e-mail at: NEPALASO@doeal.gov

To keep informed about all these matters, please visit the websites of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability www.ananuclear.org, CCNS www.nuclearactive.org, Cultural Energy www.culturalenergy.org/lanl.htm, Los Alamos Study Group www.lasg.org, Nuclear Watch New Mexico www.nukewatch.org, Think Outside the Bomb www.thinkoutsidethebomb.org, and the Union of Concerned Scientists www.ucsusa.org.

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