State Board Supports Existing LANL Air Emissions Permit; Denies Requests for Verification Monitoring

On Friday, December 18th, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board unanimously denied the petition of Tewa Women United, Dr. Maureen Merritt and CCNS for verification monitoring for what the New Mexico Environment Department had determined were “insignificant” emission sources at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Once the Environment Department determines the releases are “insignificant,” LANL does not have to monitor or report the emissions.

The insignificant sources are formerly permitted beryllium facilities; the mechanical evaporative system for waste water from the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility; the proposed use of the two solar evaporative tanks, holding more than 360,000 gallons each, from that facility; and the soil vapor extraction system at the liquid disposal site at Area L, adjacent to Area G.

During the public comment period, the Petitioners questioned the soil vapor extraction system emissions. After receiving additional information from the Petitioners about the volatile organic compounds releases from a pilot test in 2005, the Environment Department required LANL to verify emissions for a period of one year. Based on that precedent, Petitioners asked for verification monitoring of other sources, including previously permitted beryllium facilities and the solar and mechanical evaporative systems.

The petitioners also asked that LANL be required to post all submittals to the Environment Department to its electronic public reading room.

Elder Kathy Sanchez, of Tewa Women United, said, “Many moments pass in solar time as does the unregulated LANL toxic pollutants which directly effects our life affirming air quality here in Northern New Mexico. We are exposed via multiple pathways of travel down to us citizens from the ‘sorcery’ experimental approach with 2,000 chemicals, manipulations by man to birth new weapons of mass destruction as they named the A-bomb over Hiroshima – ‘It’s a (Little) Boy!’”

Sanchez continued, “Here is a link to an Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry listing of chemicals to find a myriad of chemicals from A to Z, including their toxic effects on humans. In layman’s terms, we were asking for reassurance that the ‘insignificant’ findings of those toxins used by LANL is verified as that. And to reassure us, the public, that monitors the appropriateness be used. We do not want our future children’s children to perish.

“We all deserve clean air, pure water and healthy soil in the mountains and valleys surrounding Los Alamos National Laboratory. Our spirit rooted visions for our breath of life should be as it once was, before the scientists were ordered to create the nuclear stage, for yet another power domination holding the threat of forced annihilation. We will not let this be without continued vigilance.”



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